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Apprenticeships continue to soar as construction industry booms

Sunshine Coast carpenter Brock Perry is among the Sunshine Coast locals who have made the most of the construction boom.

The spotlight on apprenticeships and trainees as a professional career pathway continues to grow, with the most recent release of national apprentice and trainee data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research showing that apprentice and trainee commencements have increased by 88.1 per cent nationally in the 12 months ending September 2021 compared with the same period in 2020.

It comes after the Sunshine Coast region recorded a whopping 32 per cent rise in the employment of carpenters and joiners over the last 12 month-period alone.

Sunshine Coast carpenter Brock Perry is among the locals who have made the most of the opportunities, with the 22-year-old completing his apprenticeship through TAFE Queensland in 2019.

Brock was drawn to a career in trades early in life, visiting job sites with his electrician father from the age of three. Inspired by his father’s friends in construction, Brock commenced an apprenticeship in carpentry with Wes Hall Builders, undertaking his training at TAFE Queensland’s Nambour campus.

“I did work experience at school with one of the builders my ‘old man’ works with and after one week, I loved it,” Brock said.

“I really enjoy the problem solving side of it and the fact you’re not always doing the same thing. In my job, I see builds through from start to finish, doing everything from the footings, slab and trussing, right through to the finishing stage, so you’re always doing something different.”

Brock has since gone on to complete a Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) (CPC40110) through TAFE Queensland with the assistance of Constructions Skills Queensland (CSQ) funding, with the goal of running his own business in the industry by the time he is 30.

“I definitely want to try and start my own business. I wouldn’t mind trying to get into building Hamptons-style houses — my current boss, who taught me, specializes in building them and I really like the fact they’re so labour intensive and have a heap of great carpentry work involved,” Brock said.

“Having this qualification will really benefit me when I want to become a builder run my own business, and the funding has saved me from having to pay for it, which is particularly helpful considering I’ve done it at such a young age.”

Brock’s skills were also recognised on a national stage, with the dedicated tradesman taking out the bronze medal in carpentry at the WorldSkills Australia National Championships in October 2021.

Brock said he was honoured just to have been selected to compete and showcase his skills.

“One of my TAFE teachers nominated me and I thought it would be an exciting opportunity,” Brock said.

“I honestly didn’t expect to get a medal. I’d never done the type of roofing they were judging us on, so to find out I’d done so well was a surprise.”

According to the National Skills Commission, employment opportunities in the construction industry are projected to rise by 5.8 per cent nation-wide over the next five years, providing plenty more opportunities for locals interested in a career in construction. Brock said that while the industry came with its challenges, it is a career he is glad he has chosen.

“It can be a lot of hard work in the sun so you have to be committed, but it is extremely rewarding when you see a house go from nothing to being the finished product at the end. Watching your work come together — that’s the best part,” he said.

TAFE Queensland works closely with local businesses across a range of industries to provide their employees with training that is tailored to their needs, and with the State Government’s Free Apprenticeships for Under 25s funding available across a broad range of trades, there’s never been a better time to take on an apprenticeship.