Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ) has launched a series of new initiatives to help build the capacity of the Western Cape construction workforce. With a particular focus on providing pathways for the Indigenous population, the strategy is outlined in the CSQ Western Cape Construction Skilling Action Plan.   
 
As part of the Plan, CSQ will co-contribute funding to an eligible industry organisation to employ a local Workforce Coordinator. Working with employers across the Western Cape, the Workforce Coordinator will be focused on building Indigenous workforce capability. 
 
In another major boost for the region CSQ will introduce a Future Workforce Program. Through the initiative, CSQ will provide information and support to schools and career seekers looking to find a pathway into the local construction industry.
 
According to the Action Plan, there are 1500 people in the labour force across the Western Cape region. 
The regional unemployment rate of 8.3% is higher than the state average (5.9% in December 2015) and rises beyond 25% in areas such as Arakun. 
 
CSQ CEO Brett Schimming said training was the key to reducing unemployment in the area.
 
“The lack of continuity of work in the Western Cape has created significant challenges for the local construction industry. Without long-term job security it can be difficult for apprentices to complete their training,” he said.
 
“At the same time, little training is being undertaken by the workforce on major projects. Approximately 77% of Indigenous workers on civil projects are unskilled.
 
 “This must change if the local construction industry is going to keep pace with growing demand. There are a number of significant projects already taking place or in the pipeline for the region.”
 
These projects include the Rio Tinto Amrun Project, Metro Mining Skardon Project, the Glencore Aurukun Bauxite Project and the Peninsula Development Road.
 
It is estimated the projects are worth a combined $3 billion in value and will require more than 1500 new workers.
 
Mr Schimming said the expanding construction market would create opportunities and challenges for the industry. 
 
 “The good news is that employers are telling us that they want to draw on the skills of local indigenous communities,” he said.
 
“Through workforce planning, we can provide employers with the support they need to offer these training pathways.  This includes implementing strategies which ensure apprentices are able to complete their training.
 
“If we can build a pool of qualified workers, over time we are likely to see more Indigenous managed construction companies in the Western Cape. This would be a very exciting development for the region.” 
 
Building the capacity and capability of Indigenous managed contractors will be essential for the delivery of the Remote Indigenous Housing Project. CSQ is working in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Public Works to deliver the program which is expected to build hundreds of new homes in the area.
 
CSQ will continue to offer its Trade Start program in the region which allows school leavers to undertake a blend of practical work experience with classroom learning. At the completion of the program, successful graduates receive a Certificate I in construction.
 
To support the rollout of the Plan, CSQ leaders will be visiting Cooktown, Weipa, Bramwell, Bamaga and Coen. The purpose of the visits is to meet with local Mayors, Councils and employers to better understand the challenges facing their areas.
 
“CSQ will attend regional events and engage with industry stakeholders on a regular basis to gain feedback on the Action Plan and undertake workforce planning. We will be delivering two annual workforce planning papers to keep the industry informed of our progress,” he concluded.
 
For more information about careers in construction, contact CSQ on 1800 798 488 or visit
www.csq.org.au.
 
ENDS
 
For further information and media enquiries
Luke Burrows, PPR, 07 3309 4714, 0410 620 202, lburrows@ppr.com.au
 
 
About Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ)
 
Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ) is an independent industry-funded body supporting employers, workers, apprentices and career seekers in the building and construction industry. Funded by an industry training levy, we work closely with students, schools, employers, apprentices, industry partners, training providers and individuals across Queensland to build capability at every level of business. As a recognised industry leader, our mission is to promote the building and construction industry as a career of first choice, encourage investment in skills and training and increase the number of skilled workers in the industry.

Download the CSQ Western Cape Action Plan