Thousands more building and construction apprentices key to housing crisis

SA Gov

Building and Infrastructure courses will be prioritised with more than 30,000 new training places planned over the next five years – an increase of 1,000 extra training places per year compared with current levels.

It comes as the Malinauskas Labor Government delivers crucial investment where it’s needed in the building and construction industry with almost $38 million – an increase of almost 10 per cent compared to last year – to support more than 7800 apprentices.

It is part of the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) Annual Training Plan, approved by the government and launched today by the Premier and Minister for Education, Training and Skills, which will include:

* Increasing funding of short course training programs by 11 per cent to $6.4 million

* The Career Driven initiative, providing doorways2construction students with access to up to five instructor-led, accredited driving lessons

* New doorways2construction and SA Housing Authority Program at Mount Gambier

*$500 work equipment vouchers to help apprentices get trade ready with essential workwear, personal protective equipment and tools

* Increasing the number of industry immersion programs in schools across South Australia by 32 per cent

*Increasing the number of supported mature age apprentices from 250 to 300

It follows the 2024-25 State Budget where a record investment in skills funding for South Australians with the building and construction sector a key component of the state’s economic future.

This includes an additional investment of $692.6 million over five years in the vocational education and training sector to lift the total investment, as part of the National Skills Agreement (NSA), to $2.3 billion in partnership with the Commonwealth.

Since 2022, more than $40m has been invested invocational courses aligned to Construction and Infrastructure with more than 5,000 people supported to start training.

This investment and activity are in addition to the investment and training delivery provided by TAFE SA which has so far invested over $75m in building and construction courses since 2022, with over 13,000 individuals commencing in the industry.

Almost 2,000 of these have been fee-free training places, saving students thousands in course fees.

The focus of the training plan, announced today, is to ensure there is a strong and skilled construction workforce across the state, as well as an increasing focus on ensuring the workforce challenges of the future can be met by encouraging young South Australians to consider a career in construction.

Funding for the doorways2construction program has been increased by 11 per cent to $2 million to enhance the opportunities for secondary school students from year levels 7 to 12 to undertake a building and construction flexible industry pathway.

The year 11 and 12 programs will support a record number of students – up to 1500 – across 110 South Australian schools.

This complements other changes across the State Government that will encourage more School Based Apprentices, which is seeing more students commence apprenticeships while they are studying.

As put by Peter Malinauskas

The housing crisis is complex and won’t be fixed overnight, but we are doing everything we can to address the urgent needs now and into the future.

There are a range of levers at our disposable, but none more important than the future growth of the industry, than ensuring we have people training now, ready to enter in the workforce and on the tools.

It also ensures that South Australians can make the most of the job opportunities being created in the housing construction industry.

As put by Blair Boyer

This plan seeks to create a stronger link between education and skills by encouraging students to look at a future career in the construction industry.

By offering the guidance and support, it will ensure we address completion rates and get those desperately needed skilled workforce out in the industry.

It’s the work we do today, that will make the difference in the future.

As put by CITB Presiding Member John Chapman

This work will support employers in the construction industry, provide training for apprentices and existing construction workers and also engage students on career opportunities in construction into the future.

The plan sets out an ambitious program to support a record number of apprentices over the next 12 months.

As put by CITB Chief Executive Holly Willcox

This plan shows that collaboration between industry, government and industry groups can help to generate initiatives provide high quality outcomes for the industry as a whole.

As demand for construction services continue, we must do more to look at the attraction and retention of a broader workforce. This plan focuses on that.

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