The Region's construction industry is significant, both in residential and commercial markets, comprising a combination of sole traders, small businesses, subcontractors and large corporations. The workforce in construction is very diverse, spanning electricians, plumbers, carpenters, joiners, plasterers, fencers, painters, surveyors, crane operators, riggers, dogman, concreters and related trades workers and technicians. Builders in the commercial market tend to be more specialised due to required economies of scale and higher barriers to entry (e.g. due to regulation, work health and safety (WH&S), etc.).
The outlook on growth is positive but subject to levels of volatility. While forecast population growth is low, residential construction should continue due to reported shortages of accommodation, particularly as the labour force and visitor economy grows. For instance, the proposed Mildura Riverfront Development – Stage 2 will invest in infrastructure to showcase Mildura’s heritage and environmental assets, as well as support capacity and demand for residential investment. Similarly, commercial construction and related infrastructure should remain strong due to high forecast growth in horticulture, manufacturing, transport and healthcare and social assistance. Several large-scale construction projects are also in the pipeline. This includes solar construction and sand mining across the Region.
Skills and training
Construction industries are the largest users of VET, accounting for ~20% of total training activity in the Region. Apprenticeships are the standard pathway to employment in most trades across construction. This is expected to continue with forecast workforce growth. Forecast workforce growth will also increase demand for training during career transition points (e.g. from worker to subcontractor), where broader skill sets such as project management and financial literacy are required. VET will have a role in supporting reported shortages in local A-grade electricians for solar maintenance and trades such as painters in residential markets.