Building and construction industry apprenticeships – the highest priority entry point to the industry – have increased, the Tasmanian Building and Construction Industry Training Board (TBCITB) says.

And TBCITB chairperson Tracy Matthews said with the levels of demand and activity generally improving, more apprenticeships should become available in the near-term.

“The Board will continue to look at carefully targeted incentive programs to encourage apprenticeships, particularly to respond to projected growth of activity over the next few years,” she said.

The information is contained in the TBCITB’s State of the Industry Report that says industry’s capacity to train is directly linked to the availability of building and construction work.

“The industry employed 1,359 apprentices in 2015/16 or 14 per cent up from the previous financial year,” it said.

Numbers in traditional apprenticeships have also improved, though the number of non-completion of apprenticeships is still a concern.

Ms Matthews said the TBCITB would continue to provide financial support in non-apprenticeship areas – workplace health and safety, business and other related skills, skill areas of perceived shortage, retraining and upskilling for existing employees and emerging technologies.

“These programs are also reviewed annually to ensure that they are still responding to the requirement of industry participants,” she said.

Ms Matthews said legislative amendments in 2016 had broadened the scope of the Board’s work to a Workforce Development approach as opposed to a narrower focus on skills and training.

“This means that workforce planning, recruitment, retention and continuing development now form the core of the Board’s work,” she said.

“The Board has overcome the difficulty of planning for an ever fluctuating workforce by developing a workforce model based on the average employment levels of the preceding 10 years broken down in to various trades, occupation and professions found in the industry.

“That model is constantly being refined and provides the basis for setting minimum levels of apprentice and other recruitment.”

 

Other key points identified in the State of Industry report:

  • The Tasmanian building and construction industry continues to experience high activity levels expected to around $2.5 billion a year for at least the next two year
  • The need for more major projects in the north of the state has seen some improvement but continues to be a concer
  • The industry employed 21,300 as at December 2016, eight per cent more than in June 2015 (19,700) and 22 per cent more than in June 2014 (17,400). Because employment generally follows the trend in construction activity, the demand for workers in the south is expected to remain strong in the next two year
  • While trends are improving, work safety continues to be a key focus with building and construction accounting for 7 per cent of Tasmania’ lost time injuries at an average cost of over $13,815 per incident in 2016.