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Upskilling to build a career during construction boom

The Australian Government's Labour Market Information portal predicts the building and construction industry will see an 8.5 per cent increase in the next five years, making it a secure career choice for young people starting out in the industry.

A series of massive infrastructure projects in South East Queensland including Cross River Rail, Inland Rail, and the Queens Wharf development are also expected to further boost the demand for construction workers, opening up a vast array of opportunities for both new and existing workers in the Greater Brisbane area.

TAFE Queensland building and construction student Prab Bhalla, 19, is just one of many young career starters looking to take advantage of the career opportunities emerging in the growing construction sector.

Prab said that since completing his Diploma of Building and Construction (Building)(CPC50210) in 2020, he’s already found a job in the industry working at inSite Construction Serivces and plans to keep building his career.

“To further enhance my skills, this year I decided to also undertake a CSQ funded Advanced Diploma of Building and Construction (Management) at TAFE Queensland which will allow me to apply for a Builder Project Management Services license and become a qualified project manager or job site supervisor for high-rise construction work in the future,” he said.

Prab said that his TAFE Queensland studies have definitely helped him to get his start in the industry and he’s excited to see what opportunities lay ahead.

“Having relevant qualifications definitely does help you to get your foot in the door of the construction industry. I started in an administrative role just wanting to get into the industry and have since been able to move my way up into a contracts administrator role,” Prab said.

“It’s overwhelming how busy the construction industry is, particularly after COVID-19. It’s a great field to be in though, and I’m really enjoying the work so far. It’s what I really want to do.”

Before commencing his studies at TAFE Queensland’s Eagle Farm campus, Prab explored career avenues in both health care and engineering before deciding that construction was his true calling. In just two years at TAFE Queensland, he has now completed a Diploma in Building and Construction (Building)(CPC50210) and a Diploma in Building and Construction (Management)(CPC50308).

To add more skills to his toolbelt, once Prab has completed his advanced diploma at TAFE Queensland he plans to continue his studies at university and will apply to study a degree in Construction management. The two-year associate degree will likely be fast-tracked to just one year when his nationally recognised TAFE qualifications are credited towards the degree.

“With two diplomas, an advanced diploma, and a degree I think I will be well qualified to move upwards within my company or elsewhere in the future," said Prab.

Being eager to kick-start his trade career whilst still studying, Prab initially sought guidance from his TAFE Queensland teachers who all have a varied range of building and construction backgrounds.

“When I was completing my first diploma I asked my teachers for advice about what types of jobs I could apply for because I was so keen to get into the industry and get started on my construction career."

"They provided me with some great career guidance as well as a list of companies that I could potentially send my resume to,” he said.

Not only is Prab looking forward to building his career in the booming construction industry he is also looking forward to putting his building and construction skills to use as he helps his family build a new home.

“My family and I have recently bought a house and we plan on knocking it down and building a new one." 

“Obviously being in the construction industry I feel that I understand the process a lot better now. So that’s the plan for some time next year," he said.