GO NORTH: We need workers there
AN army of tradies is being urged to skill up now and get ready to work on a to-do list of major projects driving a Far North civil construction boom.
Construction Skills Queensland claims big-ticket items like stage 2 of Kidston Solar Project and stage 3 of the Cairns Southern Access Corridor will drive strong demand for specialist construction jobs in the next 12 months.
With a 26 per cent increase in general construction activity forecast for the Far North, training and upskilling of the local workforce will be critical to ensure there are enough skilled workers to meet the demand.
Construction Skills Queensland CEO Brett Schimming urged Cairns construction workers to take advantage of a $37.6 million training package announced yesterday.
"What we are seeing at the moment is the residential sector being a bit soft and a pivot across to infrastructure with roads like the southern bypass road and the Smithfield bypass and the Kidston solar farm," he said.
"We are providing the training and licensing and ticketing support financially for registered training organisations in Cairns and Far North Queensland to be able to build workforce training and skills needs.
"Big contractors want workers to start Monday.
"What we are saying to business and individuals is get yourself organised now otherwise they will start looking south and you are competing with growth in Rockhampton and the big projects in southeast Queensland."
Plant operators, concreters, steel fixers, electricians, and plumbers are the trades expected to be most in demand, Mr Schimming said.
Outdoor Solutions director Markus Mueller employs 12 full-time staff and three apprentices. He said having access to training programs created strong motivation for business to hire apprentices and keep them on the job.
"It's a great incentive and it really helps the guys and gives them something to aim for and keeps them focused on the job," he said. "Having a pipeline of major projects in the region definitely has an impact on my decision to employ apprentices. And it gives us security knowing there is going to be work for them."
Second-year landscape construction apprentice Sean Tesch, currently working on Crystalbrook's Flynn Hotel, said entering the trade had major advantages.
"It beats working on a labourer's wage and you get self-pride in your work," he said.
Far North Queensland is projected to deliver an estimated $3.7 billion in construction activity and $2 million in training in the next year.
PROJECTS ON WAY
Aurukun Bauxite Project: $15b
Kaban Green Power Hub: $300m
Southern Access Corridor - Stage 3: $481m
Kidston Solar Project, Stage 2:
Smithfield Bypass: $152m
JOBS IN DEMAND
■ Plant operators
■ Steel fixers