How will the Australian economy recover in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison believes one of the ways Australia can rebuild its economy is through quality vocational education and training (VET).
Mr Morrison believes that now is the time to focus on VET courses that provide quality training for trades and skilled workers. In a recent meeting with the National Press Club, he has called for “An educated and highly-skilled workforce that supports not just a thriving and innovative services sector, but a modern, competitive and advanced manufacturing sector.
“…we need Australians better trained for the jobs businesses are looking to create because that’s important.”¹
The importance of the construction industry in Australia
Mr Morrison himself acknowledged that the construction industry was too important to be shut down along with other sectors of the Australian economy, claiming that it was an essential industry.
Of course, in order for construction sites across the country to remain open strict social distancing rules were enforced which slowed business. But slow business is better than no business.
In 2019, there were more than 1.15 million employed in the construction industry. This made it the third largest employment sector in Australia, after healthcare and retail.³ This is equal to about 9% of Australia’s workforce.
The building and construction industry is important not only because it is a large driver for the Australian economy and employs so many people, but because it also supports other industries such as manufacturing and services such as engineering and surveying. On top of that, the output of the building and construction industry affects other industries, too. Think about how building new classrooms can affect a school’s capacity to attract students and provide an environment that is conductive to learning; or how changing technology or the needs of society dictate what new infrastructure needs to be built.
You can see how shutting down this industry, even for only a few weeks, would have huge a knock-on effect for Australia’s economy.
How can the construction industry help to rebuild the economy?
Mr Morrison recently announced his Government’s plans for the HomeBuilder scheme, which he believes “will help to fill the gap in construction activity expected in the second half of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“In doing so, HomeBuilder will help to support the 140,000 direct jobs and another 1,000,000 related jobs in the residential construction sector.”²
The construction industry in Australia generates around $360 billion in revenue. However, the residential building industry was one of the hardest hit sectors in Australia due to the COVID-19 crisis. Job losses and business closures led to a decrease in work, and this is what the Morrison Government hopes to boost with their HomeBuilder package.
While the construction industry has undoubtedly slowed down, it has by no means stopped. And to help our economy recover, one of the best ways to do that is to help kickstart the construction industry with the HomeBuilder incentive.
As we’ve outlined above, because of the many different ways that the building and construction industry is linked to the Australian economy, it is more important than ever that we are able to support this industry so that others may follow.
What does VET have to do with building and construction?
A VET qualification will help you get a job in the building and construction industry. Open Colleges offers a number of Building and Construction courses which you can complete online. And yes, it’s possible to complete a practical trades course online, and you can read about it here.
If you’re looking to pursue a career in the building and construction industry, then you could consider studying with Open Colleges. Our courses cover a range of topics that will help get you job ready for a career in one of Australia’s pivotal industries.
*1. Source: Australian Federal Government. (26 May, 2020) ‘Address, National press Club’. https://www.pm.gov.au/media/address-national-press-club-260520
*2. Source: Australian Federal Government. (4 June, 2020) ‘HomeBuilder program to drive economic activity across the residential construction sector’ [Medi release]. https://www.pm.gov.au/media/homebuilder-program-drive-economic-activity-across-residential-construction-sector
*3. Source: Vandenbeck, Penny. (10 April, 2019) ‘Snapshot of employment by industry’. https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/FlagPost/2019/April/Employment-by-industry-2019
*4. Source: Australian Industry and Skills Committee. ‘Construction Overview’. https://nationalindustryinsights.aisc.net.au/industries/construction