2024 Training Plan

Introduction

The ACT Building and Construction Industry Training Fund Authority (the Authority) has undertaken an extensive study of industry activity in the past 12 months in the development of the 2024 Training Plan.

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The study utilises and relies upon reports submitted by the ACT Regional Building and Construction Industry Training Council Inc. (CITC) and the ACT Electrotechnology and Energy Advisory Board (EE-AB) in consultation with industry stakeholders; registered training organisations (RTOs), group training organisations (GTOs), civil, commercial, residential, associations, unions and government entities including Access Canberra, Office of Regulatory Services, Building Policy (Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate) and Worksafe ACT via face to face interviews and discussions from stakeholders from a range of industry events and forums.

The Authority greatly appreciates the information and advice obtained from industry used in the formulation of the 2024 Training Plan.

The Authority supports eligible industry stakeholders by providing financial rebates for approved training to those workers undertaking upskilling and professional development within the building and construction industry in the ACT. The Authority relies upon industry stakeholders to guide the funding direction for training programs delivered by RTOs.

The consultation process provided the Authority some insight into the training and professional development requirements of industry sectors, and the growing skills demands placed on industry in the building and construction market in the ACT.

Many comments and suggestions provided in the industry consultation this year are like previous years, in particular, industry has requested that the training programs included in the 2023 Training Plan be again included in the 2024 Training Plan.

School Based Training

The Year has seen significant review and development of all VET Training Courses for ACT Schools and Colleges. The CITC advised the Authority it was invited to formally participate in the finalisation of a comprehensive review of VET with the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies (BSSS). Stakeholders were invited to participate in a committee to review how VET is appropriately recognised and recorded on the School Certificate.

The outcomes and recommendations of this work have been submitted to the BSSS Board.

This comprehensive work will see VET integrated with the Year 11 and 12 Educational Curriculum. These changes will ensure that the VET Course that a student nominates to undertake will also be complimentary with their Year 11 and 12 studies and be reflected on their Year 12 Certificate.

The outcomes should provide increased confidence to industry that the students studies are reflected in their nominated VET program.

The final Outcomes from this significant amount of work and consultation is in the final stages of approval through the BSSS Board.

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Construction Pathways Course

The outcomes from the BSSS review and update for the Construction Pathways Course for all Schools and Colleges in the ACT is currently being implemented.

The Committee that undertook the development of this Course together with the CITC raised Industry’s concerns and additionally, proposed new initiatives that would enhance the students’ opportunities for employment once they had successfully completed the Course.

Review of Construction Participation in ACT Schools and Colleges

A review of students participating in or engaging in Building and Construction in the ACT is underwway. The CITC is engaging with the BSSS and the Public, Private and Catholic Schools and Colleges to ascertain these numbers.

This review is looking at the number of students that are either undertaking and/or participating in:

  • Certificate I in Construction Pathways
  • Certificate II (ASBA).
  • Work Placement.
  • Work experience.

BSSS data on Senior Secondary Students and Construction Pathways

The following table indicates the number of students from 2017-2022, that included student participation, in either external studies or a school-based course in Construction Pathways on their ACT Senior Secondary Certificate.

2017 126
2018 141
2019 139
2020 136
2021 150
2022 150

 

Existing Worker Training and Professional Development

The consultation reports acknowledge the significant due diligence the Authority pay to funding all training courses included in the 2024 Training Plan as well as requesting courses outlined in the 2023 Training Plan continue to be supported. The consultation also requests the Authority’s ability to maintain flexibility to address any new and/or emerging training and professional development courses that arise during the year and have identified various new training programs to be included in this year’s plan:

  • A new initiative by a number of companies to ensure onsite ‘Spotter’ training is introduced onsite. This will be mandatory for all workers commencing in January 2024, with the intention to have all workers undertaking the role of Spotter/Observer and required to have completed training and successfully attained the accreditation of the Unit of Competency RIIRTM203E Work as a safety observer/spotter.
  • Refresher training remained high on stakeholders’ recommendations.
  • The 20/22 National Construction Code was amended in October 2022 to include energy efficiency and accessible housing requirements. Training will be required to meet this Code. It has come into effect 1st May 2023.
  • Industry recognises training for the supply/delivery/testing/placement/finishing and curing of concrete.
  • The ACT Government is introducing Energy Efficiency Regulations from 1st April 2023, that will require all homes (rental) in the ACT to have appropriate Ceiling Insulation. It is proposed that a Skill Set (6 Units of Competency from various Training Packages) will be mandated for all workers that undertake this work.
  • Development of and delivery of special Skills Sets for improving the overall quality for tradespeople to prepare them for entering the workforce as a ‘Tradie’ and additionally for setting up and running a business. This Skills set to incorporate:
    • Financial skills
    • Specific WHS requirements and responsibilities for residential builders/subcontractors and tradies
    • A suite of Qualifications and Skill Sets are currently being developed to meet National Codes of Practice for the Installation of Concrete Panels, a range of High-Risk Licensing activities.
  • Delivery of a Small Business shortcourse that would include:
    • All legal requirements to set up a small business.
    • Pricing and quoting for work/jobs and ensuring that all oncosts, including hidden costs, are understood.
    • Ensuring that all financial systems required to run a successful business are understood and put in place.
    • Financial Reporting.
    • Ensuring that all appropriate WHS Systems are understood and put in place.
  • Support for a Workplace Impairment Course that delivers:
    • Mental Health
    • Financial Literacy
    • Impact of taking drugs, gambling.
  • All Training Courses that have a regulatory outcome and ACT Government mandate including
    • Prepare to work safely in the construction industry (White Card)
    • Asbestos Awareness
    • Working Safely with Asbestos Containing Materials
    • Silica Awareness
    • Health & Safety Representative (HSR)
    • Health & Safety Committee (HSC)
    • Elevated Work Platforms
    • Energy efficiency Insulation Skill Set (New ACT Gov. Regulated Initiative)
    • Traffic Control & Implement Traffic Control Guidance Plans
  • Working at Heights
  • Confined Spaces
  • Manual Handling
  • Load shifting training
  • High risk licensing units in relation to:
    • Slewing mobile cranes
    • Non-slewing mobile cranes
    • Materials hoist
    • Forklift
    • Scaffolding
    • Rigging
    • Dogging
  • Units of Competency for Trim & Cross Cutting with Concrete Saw (New Units of Competency)
  • Fall trees manually (Basic, Intermediate & Advanced) and Trim & Cut Felled Trees (FWPCOT2239) New Units of Competency
  • Units of Competency for Internal and external Waterproofing (New national Units and non-accredited)
  • Concrete Panelling (New national Qualification and Skill Set)
  • First Aid
  • CPR
  • Certificate IV in
    • Building & Construction
    • WHS
  • Oz Help Mental Health and Workplace
    impairment Courses, Bullying & Harassment
  • Social Media training
  • Digital literacy (computer skills)
  • Testing/verification/isolation training
  • Wiring rules training
  • Working near electrical apparatus (due to Rail corridor)
  • Security & fire specific skills
  • Estimating, accounting, business management
  • Micro independent renewable electricity generating systems
  • Battery installation, handling and isolation skills
  • Street lighting
  • Clean Energy Council (CEC) Accreditation
  • ACMA registration
  • Changes to HV protection technology IEC 61850
  • Power tool awareness
  • Hazard identification
  • Wireless technologies
  • Metering
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM)
    • Building Information Modelling (BIM) remains high on training list for several ACT builders. Training varies as to the level of complexity but essential for the ongoing professionalism for individuals to carry out their work responsibilities.
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Work Health and Safety (WHS)

A strong focus on compliance has been directed on the residential/cottage sector by WorkSafe ACT and it is intended to continue over the coming years.

Industry proposes that a high priority training focus for 2024 is on the following Courses:

  • Tool Safety
  • Manual Handling
  • Ladder Safety
  • Height Safety
  • Lead abatement
  • LV CPR First Aid
  • EVO Energy Safety Rules
  • Working at heights (residential focus).
  • Elevated work platform.
  • Certificate III in Scaffolding.
  • Certificate III for Rigging.
  • Certificate III for Dogging.

Note: A suite of Qualifications and Skill Sets are currently being developed to meet National Codes of Practice for the Installation of Concrete Panels plus a range of High-Risk Licensing activities.

WorkSafe ACT continues to monitor all training with a regulatory outcome, eg. White Card, Asbestos Awareness and Crystalline Silica Exposure Prevention. WorkSafe ACT ensures that any RTO wishing to deliver regulated training in the ACT undertakes a compliance audit to ensure that they meet all the requirements of WorkSafe ACT to deliver quality training.

WorkSafe ACT is encouraging all organisations ensure that their supervisors undertake appropriate supervision training for residential sites. It is recognised that a number of supervisors move between sites making it difficult to keep ‘on top’ of managing all the WHS requirements for their sites.

WorkSafe are also encouraging industry to undertake training through new and existing training courses. It is anticipated that a number of courses, including the proposed course(s) for graduating Apprentices, would help with a number of identified points below. The following training includes:

  • Site security safety and theft.
  • Implement Erosion and Sediment Control
  • Minimise risk and maximise the profit: Impact of rework and defects on costs and safety.
  • Individual mental health and suicide prevention (CCW, mates in Construction/ AusHelp)
  • SWMs
  • Site induction
  • Role of site supervision
  • Fall from heights – including unsafe scaffolding
  • Electrical safety
  • Site signage
  • Housekeeping and Amenities
  • Practical risk management of silica
  • Fatigue and impairment - drug and alcohol
    on sites
  • Return On Investment (ROI) a local builder with good WHS standards
  • Consultation
  • Technology
  • Psychosocial hazard management

Industry continues to discuss and recognise the importance of non-accredited training where accredited training does not exist. How this can be best utilised for the ACT construction industry is an ongoing discussion. Feedback has indicated that industry wants to recognise the importance of non-accredited training but acknowledges that any RTO that delivers non‑accredited training needs to be pre-approved by WorkSafe ACT.

Height Safety Training continues to be high on the agenda for WHS for the industry and will continue to be seen as a major need for the industry in 2024 and beyond as well as Health and Safety Representative (HSR) training.

On-Line/Web-Based Training Courses

A number of on-line/web-based virtual training courses continue to be accessed to meet the regulatory requirements for working on site eg. Asbestos Awareness, White Card, HSR and Meeting courses. A significant improvement in technology has been and continues to be developed for participants to undertake ‘using web-based resources’ in a Virtual Classroom scenario. These courses are able to be undertaken flexibly by students utilising computers, tablets and phones to undertake their theory part of their course.

This has continued as an option for RTOs delivery and is subject to ACT WorkSafe ongoing approval. It is anticipated that this will have a significant uptake as it provides students and employers, with the flexibility to undertake studies on wet days and in their own time. This provides a wide range of options for not only the student but also by their employer.

Entry Level Training

The consultation reports have outlined several suggestions to increase apprenticeship uptake in previous years. The industry has proposed to assist in the recruitment of industry workers in the ACT.

The Authority is please to advise that these proposals have been taken on by the board and implemented and include:

  • Mature age apprentice incentives (25–44 years of age) implemented in 2020 to fill the void between Federal funding incentives.
  • Continual support for pre-employment training programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, and disadvantaged groups across all the trades since 1994.
  • Entry level funding reviewed in 2020 to distribute funding fairly across group training organisations (GTOs).
  • Entry level training program support for new migrants and short-term visa holders since 2019.

Access and Equity

Several certificate II programs undertaken over the past 18 months focused on women entering construction trades. This continues to be fully supported by industry and it is recommended that it needs to be continued over the next 4 years.

Completion rates have shown to be very good, and the offering of apprenticeships and other employment in the construction industry have been excellent. The Authority will ensure continued funding support for these programs.

Several training programs have been delivered previously and need to continue and they include:

  • Bullying and harassment.
  • Numeracy, language and literacy to migrant workers. This may be the development of a specific course or engage with experts in this field.
  • Breaking the barrier – training for non‑English speaking workers to help them enter and adjust in the Australian environment.
  • Certificate II training programs.
  • Encouragement for the safe integration of disabled workers.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander skill development; pre-vocational into trade and para-professional learning pathways.
  • Working with an ageing population; skill migration from site to office, audit, and inspection.
  • Creating a diverse workforce (gender, culture, age, disability).
  • Training/education/information initiatives for workplace and domestic violence, and the consequences of this.

The Authority will continue to provide funding support in pre-apprenticeship programs including women in construction and have been administering (in various forms) a standalone website since 2008, focusing on women in the construction industry www.tradeswomencanberra.com.au

Through these initiatives the Authority will support the ACT Government’s Women in Construction Procurement Policy which meets the commitments made through the ACT Women’s Plan 2016-26 to establish procurement that prioritises contractors with gender equity strategies.

The policy will require suppliers who are tendering for ACT Government construction contracts estimated at $5 million or more to have in place measures to increase gender diversity in their organisations and to improve working conditions for women in construction.

It will also contribute to reducing the gender bias and increase the ambition of women and girls to take up careers in the construction industry.

In addition, the Authority will continue to provide funding support through for the following current initiatives:

  • Scholarship programs in partnership with the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) for certificate II, certificate IV and diploma courses in building and construction for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Scholarship programs in partnership with the CIT for certificate II, certificate IV and diploma courses in building and construction for women.
  • ACT Office for Women Pipeline for Women in Construction Program 2023-24.
  • Australian Training Company Women in Construction Program.
  • CIT Bridge Program.
  • Master Builders Association pre- Vocation Taster Program.
  • NAWIC Mentoring Sponsorship.
  • NECA pre-Vocation Program.
  • AMC Whitecard (QTIC)

State of the Industry

The Construction industry is continuing to be impacted by a number of factors, including the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, material shortages, ongoing skills shortages and inflation.

As the Government and Reserve Bank try to curb inflation, rising interest rates are also having a significant impact on consumers and construction companies decisions to commence projects.

Already this year we have seen a number of construction companies in the ACT as well as nationally collapse under the pressure of rate hikes, inflation and increasing material costs.

Experts predict the number of companies set to collapse to continue particularly for builders on fixed price contracts increasingly unable to sustain the financial losses.

To ensure the ACT remains a liveable and sustainable city, as we continue to grow, and with more people living and working in the territory than ever before, it is vital that we have a planning system that maintains the characteristics of the city that we value whilst facilitating this growth.

In September 2023, the ACT Government released updated district strategies, a new Territory Plan and new design guides as part of the Government’s reforms of the planning system. This follows the new Planning Act 2023 which commenced in June 2023.

The new planning system is focused on delivering outcomes for the residents of Canberra, providing some flexibility to encourage better buildings and public spaces for our community.

The new system will provide the framework for better designed housing that is closer to shops and services. There will also be more options to build better designed multi-unit housing and mixed use buildings. This will include more variety in size, types, look and feel, and green spaces.

In a joint media release on 4th August 2022 Andrew Barr Minister for Climate Action and Shane Rattenbury, Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction launched an interactive online hub ‘Everyday Climate Choice website.’

In addition to this new learning resource they also released the released Powering Canberra: Our Pathway to Electrification, a position paper, which outlines the decision to transition away from fossil-fuel gas, modelling of future energy use in the ACT and how we will take a phased approach to the transition over the coming two decade.

The Powering Canberra position statement explores how the ACT Government has come to the decision to transition away from fossil fuel gas to renewable electricity and some of the key challenges moving forward.

Some Key Challenges will need to be addressed include:

  • Supporting households with lower incomes and renters
  • Transitioning complex buildings
  • Finding alternatives for gas requirements
  • Opportunities for the workforce and the economy
  • The future of the gas networks.

The ACT Government is developing an Integrated Energy Plan for release by 2024 to set the foundations for a gentle and manageable transition over the next two decades and also consider the use of renewable gas in niche applications.

Canberra Switched On strategy comprises three missions setting out the territory’s economic priorities building upon the city’s strengths to attract new investment and talent over the next four years.

Launched by Minister Steel on 29 April 2022, Skilled to Succeed Skills and workforce agenda for the ACT outlines the territories priorities and plans to realise the government’s ambitions around growth and investment in skills and employment opportunities.

It is anticipated Skilled to Succeed (ACT Government, 2022) will address skills shortages and build capacity to support growth of emerging industries of tomorrow with the following priorities:

  1. Delivering skills inclusively to provide all Canberrans a foundation for lifelong learning;
  2. Building a more responsive, flexible and future-focused skills system;
  3. Assisting employers to build, attract and retain the right workforce; and
  4. Strengthening skills sector foundations.

To support the vision set out in Skilled to Succeed, the ACT Government is currently developing Industry Action Plans for the following industries:

  • Renewables and sustainability
  • Building and construction
  • Technology
  • Tourism and hospitality
  • Care sector (including aged care, childcare and disability).

The Building and Construction Industry Action Plan will set out actions for government, industry and training providers to attract and develop the workforce the building and construction industry needs now and into the future. Working across government, industry and the vocational education and training sector, the Authority will have a central role in supporting the delivery of actions under the Industry Action Plan.

On the 31 March 2023 grant applications aimed to address Priority 2 of the ACT Government’s skills and workforce agenda closed. Under the program, successful tenderers will receivegrants of up to $90,000 to test new andinnovative ideas to develop skills neededby industry. The program aims to support the below priority industry sectors including:

  • Renewables and sustainability
  • Technology (including cybersecurity
    and health informatics)
  • Building and construction
  • Tourism and hospitality
  • The care sector (including aged care, childcare and disability

Canberra’s population is still on track to reach the projected 500,000 people in 2030 and the ACT Government is committed to ensuring the territory remains one of the most liveable cities in the country by investing in infrastructure that in turn supports the construction industry.
Demonstrated in the ACT Government’s Infrastructure Plan Overview 2020 where $14 billion has been committed to infrastructure blueprint to support the community across health, education, transport, cultural and recreational facilities, community services, city planning, land release and city services.

Growth areas such as Molonglo and West Belconnen and urban renewal precincts, as well as renewing existing ageing infrastructure will see focused investment to ensure the territory can cater for the population growth.

The 2022/23 Budget is focussed on investment to deliver needed services for all Canberrans now and into the future with a focus on addressing the cost of living and wellbeing to drive economic growth and jobs.

The ACT Government has committed to a $7 billion Infrastructure Program (IIP). IIP includes investment in ambitious, complex and transformative projects such as:

  • Canberra Hospital Expansion
  • Extending the light rail
  • Canberra Theatre Expansion
  • Transition net-zero emissions future by 2024
  • Roll out of electrical buses
  • Uptake of electric vehicles
  • Transition away from gas in government buildings and vulnerable households
  • Reduction in emissions from waste
  • Building new schools
  • Building and renewing public housing
  • Building essential community and safety infrastructure

These and other key infrastructure investments are outlined in the ACT Government’s Infrastructure Plan Overview over the next five years including but not limited to:

  • Upgrades to the Kingston Arts precinct
  • Renewing Canberra Institute of Technology campuses and facilities
  • Major road duplications and intersection upgrades
  • New emergency services facilities for the city and Molonglo
  • Connecting Molonglo John Gorton Drive and Molonglo River Bridge crossing

The UNSW’s purchase of CIT Reid Campus, will see the site redeveloped into a major new campus and innovation precinct and is reported the project is anticipated to take 15 years to complete.

The pressures and impacts of COVID are still being felt by the construction industry as well as supply chain disruptions and workforce shortages compounded by having to adjust to the national and ACT reform agenda for the industry.

The territory government, through its 2022–23 Indicative Land Release Program, will focus on 70% of new housing to be in existing urban footprint with a mix of affordable, community and public housing targets.

A snapshot of each region in the next 5 years is found on the next page:

Urban district Percentage of population Development Location  
Belconnen 23.3% Residential Land release

Ginninderry Estate suburbs of:

  • Strathnarin
  • Macnamara
 
    Commercial Developments
  • Circus Site Precinct
  • Emu Inlet Waterfront
  • Lathlain Street Precinct
 
Inner North and City 13.5% Residential Land release
  • Watson

 
    Commercial Developments
  • City

 
    Community and Recreational Facilities
  • Watson

 
Molonglo Valley 2.5% Residential Land release
  • Whitlam

 
    Commercial Developments
  • Molonglo Group Centre
 
    Community and Recreational
  • Whitlam
 
Weston Creek 5.4% Residential Land release
  • North Weston
 
    Community
  • Cooleman Court
 
East Canberra 1.4% Commercial and Residential Land release
  • Oaks Estate
 
    Industrial
  • Symonston
 
Gungahlin 19.3% Residential Land release
  • Jacka
  • Kenny
  • Town Centre
 
    Mixed use
  • Town Centre close to Light Rail corridor
 
Inner South 7% Residential Land release
  • East Lake
 
    Mixed Use
  • Kingston
 
Tuggeranong 19.7% Residential Land release
  • Lake Tuggeranong
  • Greenway
 
    Commercial Developments
  • Wanniassa
 
    Non-Urban land
  • Williamsdale
 
Woden Valley 8.6% Residential Land release
  • Phillip
 
    Commercial and Community
  • Phillip
 

Source: ACT Government, Planning, 2023

In Summary

The Authority will continue to work with all sectors within the construction industry to further the skills and upskilling needs associated with those trade and technician occupations where entry level workers require specialised training and upskilling.

The Authority will continue to support training needs identified by the CITC, EE‑AB and relevant industry stakeholders. The Authority will continue to support employers of apprentices in providing incentives to employers of first year apprentices in those trade areas where skills shortages may impact construction projects in the commercial, civil, and residential housing sectors within the ACT in 2024. The Authority will also continue to promote the industry as a rewarding career choice as well as continue to support existing workers and new entry workers employed in the industry by providing funding for rebates on the cost of training.

The Authority continues to work with RTOs to ensure new training opportunities for industry stakeholders and small business enterprises. This training provides those new businesses with higher levels of productivity and increased technical skills and safety compliance.

We encourage proposals for new strategies to improve or streamline training across the Authority’s five funding programs.

Further information regarding all funding programs is outlined in this 2024 Training Plan, or alternatively you may contact the ACT Building and Construction Industry Training Fund Authority office or visit www.trainingfund.com.au

We thank again, the industry and all who contributed their feedback and advice during the consultation process for the 2024 Training Plan