The Residential Housing Boom in 2015 and Trade Skills Shortages

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The Residential Housing Boom in 2015

The residential housing boom is set to continue at a record-breaking rate in 2015. BIS Shrapnel have announced that there will be nearly 200,000 new residences due to start construction this year, which spells trouble for sourcing suitable tradies, such as bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, plasterers, tilers, glaziers and others who are in short supply.

According to the Master Builders Association of NSW, the number of new dwelling starts became the highest ever recorded in the September 2014 quarter, which was attributed to a rise in demand for apartment block units built in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

Stockland, the country’s largest property developer for retail centres, office buildings, industrial sites, residential communities and retirement villages, predicts that the residential housing boom will continue for at least another couple more years, particularly along the east coast of Australia. This prediction comes from a sizeable 73% increase in earnings from residential developments for Stockland last year, says Chief Executive Mark Steinert.

Steinert cites low interest rates, population growth and a lack of enough suitable housing as the chief reasons why there will be such intense growth in the residential housing sector from 2015-2017.

But where are the skilled tradies in all of this? Can our current workforce supply meet the rising demand in the construction sector?

A quick search of SEEK at the end of February reveals that the top 5 job vacancies in the construction industry are for:

1) Project Managers (2,796 jobs)
2) Forepersons (1,253 jobs)
3) Estimators (1,057 jobs)
4) Commercial Contract Administrators (508 jobs), and
5) Building Supervisors (498 jobs; out of these, 293 were advertised for residential)

If you have the right skills and experience, but never managed to get a trade licence, the moment couldn’t be riper than it is now. See if you qualify for RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) by completing a free skills assessment and you could receive a qualification in your trade in a matter of weeks.

Sue Fergusson, the NCVER general manager of research, suggests that not having a post-secondary qualification is one of the main obstacles to securing employment here in Australia.

The Australian Brick & Blocklaying Training Foundation reports a massive shortage of qualified bricklayers. Less than half actually possess a bricklaying qualification and the supply of new apprentices can’t possibly meet the high demand. This is fuelling delays in the housing market and expensive bricklaying costs due to unskilled workers who aren’t able to complete the work to an adequate standard.

Although recent trends suggest an increase in the overall numbers of trade commencements, there is still major cause for concern. In the ‘Understanding the non-completion of apprentices’ publication released by the NCVER in 2014, Bednarz states that around 50% of all apprenticeship contracts for trades are not completed.

As a result, the numbers of skilled foreign migrants in the construction trade have been steadily increasing. Lovegrove Smith & Cotton (Construction & Planning Lawyers) reveal that employer sponsored 457 visa holders account for almost 1% of the Australian workforce.

137,900 new jobs are expected to arise in construction between 2015 and 2019, as stated by the Department of Employment in its projections for employment growth. This means that in order to fulfil all the essential industry criteria, including trade licensing requirements, experienced construction workers will want to get a nationally recognised qualification as soon as possible to apply for their trade licence, if they don’t yet have one.

Below is a list of accredited qualifications offered by Get Qualified Australia based on Trade Skills Shortages identified on the current National Skills Needs List and Skilled Occupations List (SOL).

National Skills List        Accredited Qualification                                                  RPL Price
Bricklayer                        Certificate III in Bricklaying/Blocklaying                            $2700
Carpenter                        Certificate III in Carpentry                                                   $2700
Joiner                               Certificate III in Joinery                                                         $2700
Glazier                             Certificate III in Glass and Glazing                                      $2900
Painter                             Certificate III in Painting and Decorating                          $2700
Electrician (General)      Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician                  $7000
Plumber                          Certificate III in Plumbing                                                     $3700
Gasfitter                          Certificate III in Plumbing                                                     $3700
Roof Plumber                 Certificate III in Roof Plumbing / Plumbing                       $3700
Solid Plasterer                Certificate III in Solid Plastering                                          $3200
Stonemason                   Certificate III in Stonemasonry                                            $2700
Wall and Floor Tiler       Certificate III in Wall and Floor Tiling                                  $2700

SOL                                 Accredited Qualification                                                    RPL Price
Project Manager           Diploma of Building and Construction (Management)     $6000
Surveyor                         Diploma of Building Surveying                                             $6000

For a full list of our trades-related qualifications available through RPL, click here.

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