Cairns construction workers are being urged to take advantage of a $37.6M training package announced today to help deliver $3.7B in construction work over the next 12 months.

With a 26% increase in general construction activity forecast for Far North Queensland, training and upskilling of the local workforce will be critical to ensure there are enough skilled workers to meet the increased demand.

Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ) today announced the $37.6M training investment package as part of its 2019-2020 Annual Training Plan, with specific training programs to match forecast industry activity and skilling requirements of major projects.

Speaking at an industry launch in Cairns this morning, CSQ CEO Brett Schimming said Far North Queensland has a growing pipeline of construction activity planned and underway.

“Far North Queensland is projected to deliver an estimated $3.7B in construction activity over the next 12 months – an increase of 26% on the previous 12 months,” Mr Schimming said.

“This activity will be driven by an acceleration in engineering work connected to various large projects – around 100 major construction projects are confirmed for delivery over the next 2-3 years, with a further 140 potential projects planned but not yet committed.

“Big civil infrastructure projects like the Cairns Southern Access Corridor, the Kidston Solar Project (Stage 2) and the Kaban Green Power Hub are typical of the kinds of works driving up activity.

“The project pipeline is valued at between $1.1 billion (committed) and $12.2 billion (committed + potential) over the coming few years.

“With the majority of these projects being large engineering projects, CSQ predicts an increased demand for civil construction workers.

“However, we are also forecasting residential activity to rise above $1B next year, the first time since before the GFC, so this will also create work for a wider range of trades, including carpenters, electricians and plumbers.

“Our priority is making sure that these projects have a skilled and available local workforce to match changing project needs at various stages of their delivery and that is where this CSQ training investment comes in.

“It is also an opportunity for local workers to upskill by doing some training to take advantage of the new opportunities coming up in the Cairns employment scene,” he said.