Skip to main content


A skilled workforce underpins capacity, efficiency, performance and quality.

Ensuring that Australia has the right quantity and quality of skilled tradespeople is critical to the ongoing success of Australia’s home building industry. The existing training systems for training the trades of the future are being challenged – to address new technology, to adopt changing apprenticeship models, to compete with other industries and to adapt to expectations of the next generation.

9.00 - 9.30 AM

Setting the scene

Speaker: Simon Norris - HIA National President

The residential building industry offers a vast range of career paths and business opportunities. As the shape of new homes and the way we build changes, so these opportunities will change.

View video

9.30 - 10.00 AM

The future of skills in construction

Speaker: Robert Sobyra - Director of Evidence, Data & Innovations, Construction Skills Queensland

The business playbook is being rewritten around automation and the gig economy. Construction is not immune to these shifts. A range of technological, social and economic forces will reshape our industry over the coming decades. This new world of work will require new skills and new ways of creating them. Find out what it all means for your job and your business.

View presentation

10.00 - 10.20 AM

Keynote address

Speaker: The Hon Steve Irons – Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training & Apprenticeships

10.20 - 10.50 AM

The chicken and the egg - technology and learning

Speaker: Kerry London - Deputy Dean, School of Engineering Computing and Mathematics, University of Western Sydney

They say the average person today will have up to 15 different jobs in their lifetime. So what does this mean for their learning? When do we learn what we need and how will we learn it? Does learning end when we leave formal education? How can someone have the right knowledge at the right time in their career journey?

As the technology we use changes, does that mean the skills we need change also? Or will that technology take our place? Do we need to reskill to a new job or just learn to use the technology to do the job we have smarter? Should we be afraid of technology taking our place?

View presentation

10.50 - 11.10 AM


11.10 - 11.40 AM

Taking a new approach to VET

Speaker: Nadine Williams - Deputy Secretary, Skills and Training Group, Department of Education and Training

Earlier this year the federal government opened the door to change through the Joyce Review into Australia’s Vocational and Education Training sector. The review provides a platform for a reinvigorated focus on ensuring vocational training is an equal partner to a university education for those looking to learn a trade. It is vital that Australia has a level playing field between the VET sector and higher education overall. So what does Joyce really mean for vocational education into the future?

11.40 - 12.10 PM

Moving from school to the tools

Speaker: Mark Hands - CEO & Executive Principal, Australian Industry Trade College, Queensland

Choosing a trade may not jump out as the first option for many young people these days, but why? What are young people’s expectations today about their career? Who’s driving their education decisions? How can we help young people choose early, stay engaged and build a career for their future?

View presentation

12.10 - 12.40 PM

Trade training - fit for purpose or past its used by date?

Speaker: Rod Camm - Principal, Nous Group

Is the trade training system fit for purpose? Can we train people faster or too fast? Is competency based training the answer? What does the data show? Who can building learn from?

View presentation

12.40 - 1.40 PM


1.40 - 2.10 PM

Perceptions are not reality: mythbusting

Speaker: Andrew Sezonov - General Manager, Skilling Australia Foundation

Perception is often reality, but that doesn’t make it true. In choosing a career and a pathway to training, what do people really think about the trades? What is the work journey when someone takes up a trade versus a university degree? Who earns more, who gets jobs faster, who is work ready? The Skilling Australian Foundation will share the insights from their research “Perceptions are not reality: myths, realities & the critical role of vocational education & training in Australia" and help to bust some myths.

2.10 - 2.40 PM

The Tradie Brand: making building trades a career of choice

Speaker: Andrew Varasdi - Banjo Advertising

Why is taking up a trade a great opportunity for a young person? How do you present taking up a trade as a first choice for students and parents? What might that look like from an advertising perspective? How do you sell the ‘tradie’ brand?

2.40 - 3.40 PM

Panel Session - Skills for tomorrow: technology or training?

Panellist: Kerry London, Brett Schimming, Rod Camm, Mark Hands

Our panel will bring together the days discussion and share their insights on how the building industry can promote the skills we need to build the homes of the future tomorrow.

View video

3.40 - 4.00 PM

It’s a wrap

Graham Wolfe - HIA Managing Director