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Will 2016 be a good year for trades-based apprenticeships?

Australia’s construction industry has shown consistent signs of growth in recent months, with the residential building sector looking particularly strong.

The latest building activity data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed the value of construction work completed in the June quarter of 2015 was 6.9 per cent higher than in the same three-month period the previous year. New residential projects were up 12.7 per cent, while non-residential developments saw a 0.4 per cent decline.

As demand grows for qualified construction workers to deliver these projects, the nation may experience a skills shortage across numerous professions, including bricklaying, carpentry and concreting. This is why 2016 may be the time to consider trades-based apprenticeships, with employers keen to hire people who have the training to fill crucial skills gaps in the workforce.

To learn more about which apprenticeships are available in Australia, please visit Apprenticeship Central to view current opportunities. Registering with the site enables candidates to contact employers directly and apply for the positions that best suit their needs.

According to Master Builders Australia (MBA), residential building will remain strong in the country for at least two years. Peter Jones, Chief Economist at the organisation, said MBA is predicting there will be more than 200,000 dwelling commencements in 2015-16.

“High-rise apartment projects, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, continue to surpass record levels, but detached houses are also contributing. [They are] up by almost 25 per cent from their level of two years ago,” he explained in October.

Even more housing necessary

Earlier this month, Mr Jones claimed new housing supply would eat into the deficit of properties that had built up over the last 10 years due to a lack of construction.

He added that 600,000 houses will have been built over the past three years if current estimates hold until the end of 2015-16. This is 30 per cent higher than the previous three-year cycle.

“The unfortunate reality, however, is that even more supply is needed to address the nation’s supply-demand imbalance and improve housing affordability,” Mr Jones stated.

Apprentices and trainees may already be taking advantage of this surge in residential construction. Recent figures from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research showed a spike in trades-based commencements.

The organisation revealed a 9.2 per cent rise in these types of placement over the June quarter in 2015, when compared with the same period last year. Adult apprenticeships in the trades were especially popular, jumping by 14.8 per cent.

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