Tradespeople will always be needed, Melanie Burgess writes.
Blue collar workers are in high demand, with 15 trade and technician occupations forecast to experience particularly strong job growth. The highly-sought workers are in a wide range of industries, from construction and horticulture to science and animal care.
SkillsOne chief executive Brian Wexham says there will always be a need for tradespeople, even as technology changes the way we work.”There is always going to be a need for apprenticeships too as they are the basis of learning and learning well,” he says. “Apprenticeships have been in decline but I think we are now starting to see an upturn because of the number of jobs becoming available, whether in building and construction or in hospitality.”
Between 2018 and 2023, the Federal Government’s Job Outlook data predicts “very strong” future growth for chefs (up 17 per cent in five years, creating 16,700 new jobs), information and communication technology support technicians (18 per cent, 12,100 jobs) and “other” technicians and trades workers, such as divers and interior decorators (18 per cent, 3200 jobs). It also predicts “strong” future growth for gardeners (14 per cent, 10,900 jobs), cooks (14 per cent, 6300 jobs), animal attendants and trainers (13 per cent, 2000 jobs), glaziers (13 per cent, 1300 jobs), bakers and pastry cooks (12 per cent, 4300 jobs), plasterers (12 per cent, 4200 jobs), plumbers (11 per cent, 10,500 jobs), science technicians (11 per cent, 2500 jobs), greenkeepers (10 per cent, 2000 jobs), veterinary nurses (9 per cent, 1100 jobs), electrical engineering draftspersons and technicians (9 per cent, 1000 jobs), and shearers (8 per cent, 400 jobs).
Craig Knight, Queensland state manager for group training organisation WPC Group, says most people land these jobs with an apprenticeship or traineeship. “Many careers in the industries that are forecast for future growth are hands-on roles, therefore vocational education and training is an ideal way to enter the industry,” he says. “Apprenticeships and traineeships provide the opportunity for passionate, entry-level talent to gain handson, supervised experience and develop skills and knowledge to become qualified in their chosen occupation – plus they get paid to train.”
Nationally, WPC Group currently has more than 100 vacant apprenticeships and traineeships in industries such as automotive, horticulture, IT, hospitality, engineering, electrical and carpentry.
Be inspired: Q&A
Jessie Roy, apprentice gardener for WPC Group and Greenworx
What is your role? I’m doing a Certificate III in Parks and Gardens which takes three years. I am a second-year apprentice. It is landscape maintenance. On a daily basis I go from site to site so a normal day would be hedging, edging, mowing and line trimming and doing the rubbish run.
Why gardening? In high school, I did four years of gardening, then I did arborist work. Outside, hands-on work is for me. When this job opportunity came up, I thought I’d give it a shot. My dad is an arborist. I’ve been working outside since I was a little kid. The best part of the job would be seeing what it looks like at the end of the day – the finished product. I enjoy the apprenticeship and my mates at work.
Is there much demand? It wasn’t difficult to find a job. There is always demand for more workers for a lot of companies. There is always the need for people. Anyone interested in gardening should go for it because the job is about more than it looks like. There are multiple sections of the job, not just ground maintenance. There is designing and all that kind of thing. It’s great fun. The job would suit anyone, as long as you can develop the eye for the job. You don’t generally have it off the bat, you have to have been doing it for a long time. I want to finish my apprenticeship and work with Greenworx for a long time then save up my money to start my own company.