I had a question sent to me from this site about the need for plasterers in Townsville. I sent a reply to the person asking the question, but I figured that question deserved a post.
Townsville is currently going through a huge economic boom, and it’s really affecting the building sector as well. Last year there were about 500 fewer homes built than were needed in the Townsville / Thuringowa area.
For the last few decades there has been a huge push for people to go to on to post secondary education, especially university. That is one of the reasons why there are not nearly enough trades people in Australia as a whole. That is starting to change, with big pushes happening from government and from industry to get people involved with the trades. On our current job our builder has a 15-year old apprentice who works with him part time and goes to the local tech college part time.
Another challenge that we have up here is that we are a long way from the capital cities. It’s hard to attract people to the regional areas, despite the fact that the quality of living and the cost of living is excellent compared to most capital cities.
Another way that the government is combating the skills shortage is through immigration. Many of the trades are now listed as skills that are in need within Australia, so the applicants are able to receive additional favour in applying for a visa if they have these skills. On the Australian “working holiday visa” people can also now work for six consecutive months, an increase from the 3-months of consecutive work previously allowed. This should also help a bit in attracting people over here from overseas, whether it is for a short-term or long-term period.