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VET is at the heart of building and construction


The inquiry into perceptions and status of vocational education and training has made 34 sensible recommendations to help boost apprenticeships and training in Australia.

Master Builders has long advocated for the bias that leads people away from the VET system to be dissolved.

VET is central to skills and knowledge development in the building and construction industry, more so than any other sector in Australia. The industry is the largest employer of apprentices, says Master Builders CEO Denita Wawn.

“Vocational education and training has been seen as the second-class citizen to universities for far too long.

“We need to change people’s perceptions of working and needing a vocational education to look at trades as a pathway into a vibrant, well-paid and very large industry.

“More than 600,000 of the 1.3 million workers in building and construction have a VET qualification only – that’s more than half of our workforce.

“We are staring down the barrel of chronic tradie shortages amid a housing crisis so we need to be looking at short- and long-term solutions.

“Making VET more attractive plays a crucial role in strengthening our domestic workforce capabilities,” Ms Wawn said.

In the year to June 2023, 23,297 new building and construction apprenticeships were completed and 41,552 apprentices and trainees commenced. There are currently around 124,440 apprentices in training.

Ms Wawn added: “We need more apprentices starting and completing their training in trades.

“The inquiry has rightfully made recommendations to putting VET and higher education on equal footing, investing significantly in careers education from an early age, supporting careers advisers to help young people make informed choices, promoting pathways to VET-based careers for women and delivering national campaigns to promote VET pathways.

“Master Builders has long advocated, including in its 2023 inquiry submission, for changes to the way NCVER data is reported and used and this will be important when tracking the success of the recommendations.

“We know what needs to be done and have an enormous task of unwinding decades of neglect, so it’s time for rubber to hit the road,” Ms Wawn said.

Master Builders looks forward to working closely with governments to help make many of the recommendations a reality.

Media contact: Dee Zegarac, National Director, Media & Public Affairs
0400 493 071 |


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