Construction boom sees tradespeople upskill
Former TAFE Queensland carpentry apprentice, Calum Moore, 32, has risen up the ranks of Brisbane’s construction world rapidly thanks to his commitment to continued training with TAFE Queensland, as assisted by generous Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ) funding.
Calum is one of thousands of tradespeople in Queensland seizing the opportunity to upskill during the current construction boom. Master Builders Queensland said there was more construction being started in Queensland than ever before in their Building Industry Outlook for 2022. They said 2021 saw the sharpest spike in demand for residential construction since records have been kept, total approvals in the 12 month period moved up by 41 per cent.
With more projects going ahead there are more supervisor roles to be filled than ever. This makes it the perfect time for tradespeople to upskill and enhance their careers. Like most school leavers, Calum enrolled in university immediately after school. After a year of studying marketing however, Calum found that the university method of teaching did not suit him. It was after this that Calum went in search of an industry he was passionate about and found construction.
Over the next year, Calum worked as a general construction laborer for a few different trades. Calum was drawn to construction because he enjoyed working on projects he could see develop thanks to his hard work. Calum then began his Certificate III in Carpentry (CPC30220) at TAFE Queensland Acacia Ridge and never looked back.
While Calum’s passions lie in construction, he has always wanted to transition off the tools and into management. This is something he knew he would need further TAFE Queensland study to achieve. “Moving up into supervision or site management there’s not that many companies that will look at you without that Certificate IV qualification, especially the bigger companies,” Calum explained.
Calum was 20-years old when he started his apprenticeship, and at that point already had career ambitions set for himself, some of which he has achieved within the first decade of his career. “My career goal coming up through the ranks as a carpenter was actually always to be a Site Manager on the biggest house in Brisbane and I’m kind of doing that at the moment so I’m looking for my next goal as it is,” said Calum, who was recently Site Manager on a $5m plus house build.
Something that helped Calum achieve this goal was his commitment to furthering his education, something which CSQ contributed to by helping to fund both his Certificate IV in Building and Construction (CPC40110) and Diploma of Building and Construction (CPC50210) which he studied back to back.
In their 2021-2022 Industry Outlook report, Construction Skills Queensland mentioned that while there is a definite increase in apprentice numbers in the Queensland construction industry, there has also been an increase in experienced tradespeople upskilling themselves.
CSQ stated there had been an increase in the interest of workers in training and upskilling, with a 23 per cent increase in enrolments recorded compared to previous years. Calum is a perfect example of this trend of continued upskilling throughout the pandemic construction boom. “I went straight from my Certificate IV in Building and Construction into my diploma, one after the other, and realistically I don’t think I would’ve been able to afford that without the CSQ funding,” Calum said. “The CSQ funding obviously helped me to do my diploma quicker and now has pushed me into a higher paying and higher role.”
Calum is currently working as a Site Manager for prominent Brisbane high-end construction company, Graya Construction, on residential builds. His career enhancing studies at TAFE Queensland were a key component in his achieving this role.
Calum was not sure if he was eligible for CSQ funding until he sought the advice of TAFE Queensland. “It was actually when I went to TAFE to sign up that they told me there was CSQ funding and that I was eligible.” Calum said.
For Calum, TAFE Queensland was not only his way into the construction industry through an apprenticeship, but also his avenue for advancing himself off the tools into a management role. “Getting that qualification allowed me to move into the site management role that I’m doing now. The difference is Site Foreman is much more hands on so you’re much more of a carpenter than you are a manager,” Calum said. “Whereas Site Manager you’re much more a manager than you are a carpenter, it’s about 90 per cent off the tools, 10 per cent on the tools,” he said.
Calum has always had goals to be a manager of not only his own carpentry team but a wider range of tradespeople, and his three TAFE Queensland qualifications have helped him achieve this goal in his current role. “I’ve got two carpenters on site and every day you’re looking at about 15-20 subcontractors on-site,” Calum said of his busy, high-end site in Ascot, Brisbane.
Calum’s career progression does not stop here, he is on track to begin site managing in the multi-residential construction area with Graya Construction next year. Following this he plans on completing his Advanced Diploma of Building and Construction (Management) as part of his 10-year plan.
TAFE Queensland is ready to provide the quality training needed for Queensland’s constantly upskilling workforce during this construction boom. From apprenticeships through to advanced diplomas, TAFE Queensland can provide workers with the training they need to better themselves.
For more information about apprenticeships and trade training see tafeqld.edu.au