File photo: Builders on the Coast are about to be inundated with work.
File photo: Builders on the Coast are about to be inundated with work. monkeybusinessimages

Why Sunshine Coast tradies are about to be flat out

CONSTRUCTION activity accounted for $3.5 billion of the Sunshine Coast economy last financial year, contributing significantly to the region's strong growth of 3.5 per cent - well above the state average.

Residential housing activity, which had dipped to about $1.4 billion in 2013-14, climbed to $2 billion in 2016-17 and was forecast to rise steadily to $2.25 billion through to 2022.

Residential now represents 52 per cent of all construction-related activity, with commercial at 12 per cent and engineering 36 per cent.

Commercial activity, which had climbed to $800 million in 2014, fell by more than half to below $400 million by 2016-17 and is now expected to show a slight incline to $500 million by 2022.

Construction Skills Queensland figures show apprentice training rates at historic levels as the sector plans for growth of 15 per cent by 2021.

The industry now employs 23,900 people in a regional population of 366,000 that has a five per cent unemployment rate.

It is benefiting from annual population growth of two per cent, ahead of a projected regional population of 495,000 by 2041.

The region is also home to 1400 construction apprentices, representing nine per cent of the state total.

Construction Skills Queensland director of data and evidence Robert Sobyra will speak at an Urban Development Institute of Australia breakfast on the Coast on September 11, where he will present a detailed industry forecast for the region.

Data drawn from the latest CSQ Regional Profiles 2018-19, shows apprentice training rates are at an all-time high.

CSQ will invest almost $36.3 million in training and skilling initiatives to assist Queensland's building and construction career seekers, apprentices, trainees, workers and employers during the next 12 months.

It has forecast Sunshine Coast tradies will be the busiest in southeast Queensland over the next year, but that there was a large pool of available skilled labour to meet the growing demand.

CSQ rates Sunshine Coast trade worker availability as balanced, with an inclining trend expected following a dip through 2017-18.

The trend will continue through 2022, balanced by available worker resources remaining consistently above the number required.

The Sunshine Coast is home to 7800 construction businesses, 60 per cent of which are sole traders, 39 per cent small-to-medium operations with one to 20 workers, and one per cent who employ more than 20 staff.

Construction apprentice intakes peaked in 2015-16 at about four per 100 workers and is now experiencing a downward trend to two per 100.

Total apprentices in training peaked in 2016-17 at about eight per 100 workers and is expected to plateau at about four per 100 during 2018-19.