Enrolments for building, plumbing and roofing courses booming

Construction: Building, plumbing and roofing courses are proving popular at TAFE's Gymea campus. Picture: Fairfax
Construction: Building, plumbing and roofing courses are proving popular at TAFE's Gymea campus. Picture: Fairfax

Enrolments for construction courses are going through the roof in the Sutherland Shire – with TAFE putting the influx down to a construction boom.

TAFE’s Gymea campus was swamped by students in its building, plumbing and roofing courses in 2016 – a trend which will likely continue this year.

The Gymea campus had 1440 students enrolled in construction courses in 2015 which sky rocketed to 1983 students in 2016. The bulk of those students were undergoing apprenticeships.

TAFE Sydney region relieving assistant faculty director of building and construction Mark Hawkins said enrolment numbers could continue to rise again in 2017 in the shire.

“The current trend seems to show that apprenticeships will continue to grow over the next five years.”

Mr Hawkins said the increase in enrolments was linked to a construction boom in NSW, and he believed the boom came down to two main factors.

“We have been going through a construction boom for a couple of years now,” he said. “I think for one, we have had a long period of low interest rates so people are spending more money on home renovations and working on their properties.”

He said the second factor was the NSW government had invested heavily on big construction projects such as WestConnex. He said that was creating high demand for skilled workers.

Sutherland building company Build by Design said they had taken on more staff and apprentices in the past four years, thanks to more work coming in. Build by Design co-director David Croft said they currently employed four apprentices, all from around the shire.

“In the last four years we have gone from 10 staff to about 16 or 17. We try and take on a new apprentice every year.”

He said they were still a relatively young company, having started about 10 years ago with just two people.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported last November that the state government was forecasting the biggest housing construction boom in Sydney's history in the next five years. The forecasts predict almost 185,000 new houses and apartments will be added to the city by 2021.

Construction courses offered at TAFE Gymea campus include certificate three courses for apprentices, as well as certificate two courses for people looking to do pre-apprentice training. Teenagers who are still in high school can also do TVET construction courses with TAFE, which are offered through schools. Certificate four courses are also available for workers wanting to do higher training.

Construction courses for 2017 begin at the end of January with enrolments currently open.