Ipswich’s growing construction workforce is being urged to take advantage of a $37.6M training package announced today.

The city’s tradies have increased by 18% over the last 12 months to a total of 18,500. With construction activity forecast to cool over the coming year or two, the industry’s training body says now is the time for training and upskilling to prepare for the predicted recovery in 2022.

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 to industry in Ipswich today, CSQ CEO Brett Schimming said the Ipswich region has a healthy pipeline of construction activity planned and underway.

“Broader Ipswich is projected to deliver an estimated $2.4B in construction activity over the next 12 months,” Mr Schimming said.

“While we will see a slight decrease of 3% from the previous 12 months’ worth of activity, this was to be expected as Ipswich has been riding a record construction high,” he said.

“Major projects in the region are focused on the expansion of residential housing with Master planned communities such as Springfield, Ripley and Brentwood Forest.

“There will also be a requirement for key services to support these growing communities, such as several school developments, the Ipswich Hospital redevelopment and the Ipswich Motorway upgrade between Rocklea and Darra.

“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 that will be coming up in the Ipswich employment scene,” he said.

Mr Schimming said apprentice completion rates were strong in Ipswich but that the training rate was below average.

“Ipswich’s apprentice training rate is quite low at only 5.4 construction apprentices per hundred tradespeople – this is well below the Brisbane and Qld benchmarks (7.1 and 7.4),” he said.

“It will be important to keep attracting new apprentices to the Ipswich building and construction industry so that the workforce is ready to pick up increases in demand.”