Small businesses in the home building Industry will see the development of a host of new training options over the next 12 months according to the Housing Industry Association (HIA).

HIA’s executive director for careers and skills, Tim Reardon, says with the skills shortage becoming acute the industry needs flexible training to attract more young Australians into trades, giving them real training for real jobs.

“The Council of Australian Governments announced that new specialist training courses will be developed and introduced over the next 12 months, supplementing traditional trade apprenticeships,” he notes “The courses will allow apprentices to quickly gain skills in areas of demand which can later count towards a full trade qualification.

“Over the past two years builders have reported that nine of the 13 key trades in the industry have become less available, with shortages biting both in the capital cities and regional Australia.

“Independent contractors and small businesses within the housing industry have been hardest hit by these shortages as they battle to attract skilled contractors in a fiercely competitive market.”

Reardon says with the demand for housing expected to rise, now is a good time for employers to invest in an apprentice or trainee. “New courses will ensure there is training available for a wider range of work in the industry.

“Small businesses will also have the choice of engaging an apprentice through a group training scheme which will manage all the paperwork and employee costs such as Workcover. HIA’s group apprenticeship scheme, for example, employs more than 1000 apprentices.

“The housing industry already employs more than 350,000 people. The workforce will need to grow by another 25,000 in the next five years to satisfy demand, so these training reforms could not have come at a better time for the battling small businesses within the industry.”