Building industry tipped to grow 18.4% by 2024
Jobs data in a new report projects the building sector will grow 18.4 per cent between 2019 and 2024 in the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday region.
The Greater Whitsunday Future Skills Roadmap suggests construction will add 1413 jobs to the region's economy in that time.
The roadmap includes recommendations under four key pillars to educate the region, particularly in digital skills, to ensure the Greater Whitsunday workforces remain adaptable, resilient, and employable into the future.
The report looks at areas where skills might overlap, suggesting miners could help meet the future demand in the building industry.
"The Faethm platform has identified cross-industry employment pathways between a number of traditional sectors which project limited or uncertain workforce growth, and industries that have job corridor synergies and projected growth, providing opportunities to further explore cross-industry skilling pathways," the report reads.
"According to Jobs Queensland data, the construction sector within the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday region is projected to grow by 18.4 per cent between 2019 and 2024.
"Therefore, it will be important to explore opportunities to filter transitioning workforces into the construction industry in order to ensure regional workforce resilience into the future.
"Due to current skill set alignments, a cross-industry skilling pathway opportunity has been identified from mining into construction.
"The regional appetite to trial a mining into construction cross-industry skilling pathway will provide opportunity to develop a pilot that can be applied to other industries as the need emerges."
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Master Builders Mackay Whitsunday regional manager Malcolm Hull said 18.4 per cent was a big number but the sector could expand that much with population increases spurring residential and commercial construction.
He said building was not at record numbers right now in this region but the industry was very busy, especially with the HomeBuilder grant push.
"It's an ambitious number but it's not unachievable," he said.
"I think we are seeing in the Whitsundays a migration of people from Victoria and NSW selling their homes for a lot of money and potentially retiring there.
"They are buying or building for $7-800,000 and still putting money in the back pocket."
Mr Hull said transitioning mining industry workers to building was a viable option to meet demand.
"The mining industry is a physical job and construction is a physical job so they could transition quickly," he said.
"Qualified traders might take longer but we could get a workforce industry transition happening quickly across the board."
Resource Industry Network general manager Dean Kirkwood said the report's findings demonstrated RIN's focus on diversification and identifying future industries with opportunities for the METS sector was justified.
"The report shows that sectors that fit into the METS category, such as manufacturing and technical services, have solid growth projections until 2024," he said.
"It's important to put the mining figures in context given there was a significant forward investment in staffing numbers during 2020 as a result of COVID, so the lower mining job numbers probably reflect that.
"A lot of skills from mining and METS can flow through to construction such as electrical and engineering, with the construction industry and engineering professionals already conversing frequently.
"From a futuristic perspective, there is potential to link METS capability by way of its world-class innovative solutions.
"Our reputation for improving productivity in mining could be an opportunity for the construction industry when it comes to things such as automation."
The GW3 report suggests the region will also need growth in IT and data roles "to ensure that these workforce opportunities remain available within the region and do not become susceptible to remote serviceability".
To prepare the construction industry for emerging workforce needs, the roadmap notes a need to increase opportunities to develop skills in using emerging workplace technologies.
Mr Hull said the roadmap's focus on increasing digital skills was important, reflecting some of the moves that began during the pandemic lockdown.
"We are seeing it happening already, guys onsite with the iPad for plans and safety instead of a big pile of paperwork," he said.
"When it comes to withdrawing, ordering and planning, there's a lot more technology involved these days.
"People have changed their systems so they don't have to be onsite physically for everything; sourcing material remotely rather than physically in person.
"But for the future, we going to see things I can't even predict in 10 years time.
"In 50 years time, there's still going to be physicality on a building site, that's not going to go away but how we do it might change.
"We will always need people on that job site to get it done."
GW3 CEO Kylie Porter said the findings from the roadmap highlighted digital and enterprise skills as critical to jobs of the future.
"Our region needs to be proactive in implementing strategies to ensure all workers, including those that are currently in employment are upskilled and supported in-region, to transition into new job tasks and roles as the nature of work changes," she said.
Ms Porter said there were several sectors including agriculture, aquaculture, health care and social assistance and construction, along with information and communications technology that were expected to experience workforce growth.
"The region needs to do more to ensure training and education is available for these workforces in-region and innovative strategies are implemented to attract and retain people within these sectors," she said.
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