Construction Skills Queensland's Annual Training Plan features increased investment in apprenticeship pathways, small business know-how and a mental health program.
While the full impact of COVID-19 on Queensland’s construction industry remains to be seen, Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ) has announced a $42 million workforce training package to prepare for its recovery.
CSQ’s training package for workers and businesses in the construction industry has increased by 14 percent from last year and will extend existing training programs while adding some specific responses to challenges resulting from COVID-19.
CSQ CEO Brett Schimming says the Queensland construction industry, like the Australian economy generally, will be inevitably challenged by this once-in-a-lifetime global event – but emphasises that the construction industry is still open for business.
"There is expected to be at least $37 billion worth of construction activity underway across Queensland over the next 12 months," he says. "Construction will remain a significant employer in Queensland and vitally important to keeping the wheels of our economy moving."
The 2020-21 CSQ Annual Training Plan features increased investment in three special program areas: apprentices, small business and mental health.
"Apprentices are the future of our industry. The Government has provided a suite of incentives to help keep apprentices in work, and CSQ will be adding support by providing free training to any construction apprentice who wishes to complete additional courses over and above their normal apprenticeship.
"Education and training for small businesses has more than doubled, allowing small businesses to develop new business management skills through a range of courses that will help make them more efficient in their operations.
"Programs such as our mental health program are a vital part of protecting the health and well-being of our construction workers and CSQ is more than doubling financial support for our partners who are working with the industry in this important area," Schimming says.
"CSQ is increasing its training and support package in recognition of the important role that training and workforce development will play in the industry’s recovery. Our focus in 2020-21 is on setting-up the industry to be stronger than ever when the recovery comes, and helping workers, businesses and regions secure their place in this more competitive environment.
Schimming says, during a downturn, training is a positive strategy for businesses and individuals, using available time for workers to expand their skills base, making businesses and individuals more employable on a wider range of jobs: "For workers, it’s about expanding their skill base to make them more employable on more work sites. For businesses of all sizes, training their people allows them to be more competitive and to bid for more projects. Some of them may find that they have more time available to up-skill their staff and add value to their workforce," he says.
"It is a challenging time for everyone in the construction industry, but we stand ready to support those individuals and businesses who are looking to improve their future prospects.
"CSQ recognises the industry needs real support for training right now and has made some changes to make it easier to get that help. We have cut eligibility red tape, added funding for a range of new courses that the industry told us it needs, and have increased our subsidy for more than 66 courses."