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Maintain a stable industry workforce

Maintain a stable industry workforce

The shortage of skilled trade workers in the residential building industry is persistent. Prior to the pandemic there had been a steady decline in the number of students studying trade qualifications, with high rates of student attrition.

The measures put in place to support apprentices retain employment throughout the pandemic disruptions have successfully reduced the attrition rate. The apprenticeship wage subsidies also contributed to a substantial jump in the number of students undertaking trade training. The approach has been very effective in motivating employers to hire apprentices and it is expected that the extension for continuing apprentices will see stronger rates of completion in the coming years.

In order to alleviate the structural shortages of skilled trades it is critical that the current level of training commencements and completions are maintained.

While creating training and employment opportunities for local workers must always remain a priority, it is also critical that the migration system provide greater scope for unmet demand for skilled trades, whether through short or long term strategies. The pandemic has clearly shown a workforce limited to local supply cannot adequately meet the nation’s needs during peak periods of home building.

The current visa categories and pathways for skilled building trades are inappropriate, complex and costly, meaning very few people take up the opportunity. The system is biased to university qualifications despite the minimum requirements to train and gain a license in Australia being through vocational education and experience.


Maintain strong financial support for apprentice commencements and completions to ensure the pipeline of skilled trades in construction is supported post COVID-19.

Create a level playing field for appropriately qualified skilled trade workers under the visa points test for careers that are founded on vocational education in Australia.

Develop pathways for international students to undertake recognised trade qualifications in Australia and gain industry work experience to forge a career in the Australian residential building industry.

Introduce a new visa category for qualified tradies operating an independent business in their country of origin that addresses the point system bias to university qualifications and duly recognises the business skills.