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Queensland apprenticeship numbers rise in 2020

A wave of subcontractors opportunities for the tunnel and station work packages will be released for the Cross River Rail project in the coming weeks.

South East Queensland (SEQ) construction businesses are employing more apprentices than even before the pandemic due to a residential building boom, according to new data from Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ).

CSQ has released its quarterly analysis of construction apprenticeship data from across Queensland and has found a correlation between building approvals and apprentice numbers.

After falling throughout much of 2019, SEQ building approvals have jumped 46 per cent since February, according to CSQ.

CSQ Research Director Robert Sobyra said around $4.5 billion in projects were approved in the September quarter, which will deliver a strong pipeline of work well into 2021.

“The growth is being driven by a surge in house building, as well as a big lift in government investment,” Sobyra said.

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The number of construction apprentices in-training in SEQ has increased by 7 per cent in response to buoyant local building conditions, according to CSQ.

Construction businesses have hires 2816 new apprentices over the last five months.

“More apprentices get employed when businesses have line-of-sight to a solid pipeline of work, and that is exactly what we are seeing right now in South-East Queensland,” Sobyra said.

“There are now over 16,000 construction apprentices in-training throughout South-East Queensland, compared to 15,000 before the pandemic.

“This is a strong sign of confidence in the building sector.”

Sobyra said the most popular trade apprentices are electricians, carpenters and plumbers.

“These are core residential building trades, so you can see the correlation between a strong home building market and healthy apprentice numbers,” he said.

“Employers can now attract subsidies of at least 50 per cent of an apprentice’s wage, which means it has never been cheaper to hire an apprentice.”

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