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How the trades boom could help you future-proof your career

by Chloe Baird
Posted: April 15, 2021

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On average, Vocational Education and Training (VET) graduates earn more than university graduates. Qualified Tradespeople can also stand to earn more than $200,000 a year according to  

But despite these facts, in recent years apprenticeships and traineeships in Australia have dropped. This has now led to a trades skills gap. This means there is no shortage of work for qualified Tradespeople at the moment. But we need more skilled, trained workers if we’re going to solve the skills gap in Australia. 

So why is there a Tradie shortage in Australia right now? 

Read on to find out why, and how you can future-proof your career with a job in the building and construction industry.

Construction Worker

Why is there a tradies shortage in Australia? 

Apprenticeship and traineeship numbers have been slowly falling since 2012. While some industries have been affected more adversely than others, this has resulted in a skills shortage.  

In 2018, according to government research, the number of vacant positions filled fell to an historically low level. The main reason for this was a lack of suitable applicants with the right kind of skills and qualifications.  

Another contributing factor could be the fact that in 2012, the federal government discontinued certain incentives for employers to take on apprentices. However, the government has now tried to help bridge the skills gap by pledging $110 billion towards infrastructure projects as part of the 2020-21 budget. The government believes this will help to create new jobs and also lift the country out of recession following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Now is a great time to get on board the trades boom. Whether you’re about to enter the workforce for the first time or if you’re thinking of switching careers, a job in the building and construction industry could prove to be a reliable, well-paying career move.

Why is the building and construction industry so important? 

The importance of the construction industry in Australia can’t be understated. It’s a huge driver for the Australian economy and generates $360 billion in revenue each year. It employs around 9% of the population. And it also supports other industries such as manufacturing and services such as engineering and surveying. 

Between 2000 and 2020, employment in the construction industry has continued to increase year on year (with just a slight fall in 2012). In 2020, there were almost 1,180,000 employed in this industry. This number is projected to exceed 1,282,000 by 2024. 

But to fill these important roles, we need trained professionals.


What jobs are in demand right now? 

Indeed revealed that among the top 21 most in-demand skilled trades jobs in Australia at the moment, many fall into the building and construction industry. Construction Managers, Plumbers, Electricians, Boilermakers, Carpenters and Brick Masons are all in high demand right now.  

And as we continue to see the continuation of infrastructure projects in Australia’s capital cities and rural areas, it’s important that we also have enough skilled Tradespeople to help complete these important projects. This includes projects such as the $9 billion Badgerys Creek Airport in NSW, and the ongoing construction projects in high-growth areas such as Monash in VIC and Coomera in QLD. And as the population continues to grow, the need for new developments will continue to grow as well. 

With ambitious new infrastructure projects popping up around the country, it’s important that we have the right people to fill job vacancies. 

But it’s not just massive construction projects where skilled tradespeople are needed – homeowners also rely on the skills of tradespeople. Whether it’s calling a Plumber to fix a broken pipe or install a new sink, or getting in touch with a Concreter to put in a new driveway, there are countless ways that Australians rely on Tradespeople to get a job done. And if there’s a skills shortage, it means that some homeowners could be paying a huge premium as there is such high demand for Tradespeople, or that they miss out entirely because of the skills shortage.  

What are the highest paying trades jobs? 

According to Service Seeking, Plumbers earn the most with an average yearly wage of $110,000.  

Plumbers are followed by Concreters, who earn $107,000 per year; and then Builders, who earn $103,750 per year.  

Carpenters and those working for flooring companies also fit into the top five, earning $102,424 and $103,125 respectively.  

Of course, when you first start out in any position you have to expect to begin on a much lower wage. But, with training and experience you can gradually work your way towards a larger salary that will reflect your skills and knowledge level.  

How to future-proof your career with a trade 

You can get on board the trades boom right now by studying a VET course.  

VET education is all about learning practical skills that are designed to help you find work. A certificate or diploma in building and construction could be the best place to start if you’re looking to get on board the trades boom. 

By studying a certificate or diploma in building and construction, you can start looking for work in a growing and stable industry that offers plenty of opportunities across metropolitan and rural Australia.  

If you’ve always loved to work with your hands and prefer the idea of being out and about rather than behind a desk, then a career in building and construction could be the perfect choice for you.  

What are you waiting for? Enrol in an online building and construction course today.



Chloe Baird

Chloe is an Open Colleges alumnus who now works full time for OC as a Content and Copywriting Specialist. She is passionate about encouraging others to pursue their goals through education.

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