If you have driven around Geelong you have probably seen the major construction work happening on commercial sites in the CBD such the new WorkSafe head office, Geelong Hospital, Epworth Hospital, Simonds Stadium, Deakin University, Bellarine Aquatic Centre, Geelong Fire Station, Belmont Ambulance Station, Leopold Shopping Centre plus many more over the last few years and if you have driven almost anywhere outside Geelong’s CBD you will have noticed several land and residential sites being developed such as Armstrong Creek, Mount Duneed, Highton, Fyansford, Curlewis and Point Lonsdale just to name a few.
The construction industry is one of the Geelong regions strongest industries in regards to employment and although some other industries in Geelong have slowed down or have changed, construction has remained steady for the last 5 years and government employment projections state that the industry in Geelong will even grow by 11.1% by the year 2020. (Source: Labour Market Information Portal)
In fact, over $1.2 billion worth of major construction and redevelopment is underway in Geelong and another $1.9 billion is awaiting commencement or is planned. In the previous 12 months alone there has been $745 million worth of construction across a wide range of industry sectors. Beyond this date and excluded from those totals, Geelong is proving to be an area of further investment with the currently underway $750m Keystone Business Park expected to provide jobs for the next 10 – 15 years, the $20b LAND 400 project for the next 30 years and over $1.3b of confidential investment enquiries for the Geelong Ring Road Employment Precinct that would create more than 1,065 jobs. (Source: Enterprise Geelong)
What does this mean for you? It means there are, and will be, plenty of opportunities for employment, that this industry should remain strong in the long term and is a great career choice if you possess the necessary qualities.
We recently held a Building & Construction Employer Panel here at The Skills and Jobs Centre where participants heard from 3 of Geelong’s major employers in the industry; Lyons Construction, Built and Rendine Construction.
Here are just some of the key points to come out of the event:
- There is strong confidence in employment growth in the region with many upcoming projects and tenders forecast.
- That the on-flow effect from all the construction taking place means a very wide range of job opportunities – from architecture, construction management, skilled and unskilled labouring, transport, earthmoving/mobile plant operation, carpentry, plumbing, roofing, electrical, scaffolding and many other trades, steel and timber fabrication, workplace safety, interior design, property law, engineering, environmental management to real estate and so on.
- Trades and apprenticeships are an extremely important part of the industry but there are careers for all skill levels.
- Even with university qualifications in construction employers prefer some level of hands-on experience and knowledge, even if this includes helping a family friend for a few days or doing some weekend work. According to Steve Lyons from Lyons Construction having that experience on building that door frame (for example) will enable you to better understand the process and time it takes to put door frames together and therefore enable you to manage your project more efficiently from estimating costs to the build itself.
- That it is important to be flexible and adaptable which means being able to adjust your skills and thinking to different situations that may occur on a project.
- What these companies look for in ALL employees are personal qualities such as work ethic, reliability, enthusiasm, team work and initiative. Your personal qualities will make you more employable than just having a qualification or certain skill.
- If you are interested in starting out in the industry don’t be afraid to approach local builders or companies and see what opportunities might be available for you whether that be apprenticeships, labouring or even mentoring roles for university graduates.
- Don’t be afraid to try different trades, skills and training and find the role that fits best. Having the extra knowledge and experience will also add to your employability.
In summary, the future is bright for anyone looking at getting into the industry. My advice is to be proactive and find out what training or jobs are available to you. You can contact local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Providers, contact an Apprenticeships Field Officer (AFO’s), speak with local businesses, ask family and friends for work experience, look at what RTO’s have to offer such as pre-apprenticeship courses, industry skills courses and ‘VET in School’ for high school students or come in and speak with the friendly staff here at the Skills & Jobs Centre who can provide you with information and help guide you in the right direction.
Written by Shai, our King of Industry. For help with Geelong industry information , book an appointment with Shai or any of the Skills & Jobs Centre’s advisors.