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Employing support for more jobs growth

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Employing support for more jobs growth

Our region continues to bounce back from the pandemic layover, with encouraging worker data. WORDS: Caitlin Zerafa.

The Sunshine Coast has been named as the second-fastest- growing jobs region. Jobs Queensland has released its Anticipating Future Skills Series Four, which headlines employment projections over the five-year period to 2025-26.

The employment projections reiterate Queensland’s strong employment, with almost 207,000 additional workers projected to be employed in the state between 2021-22 and 2025-26. Housing Industry Association (HIA) also released a report indicating the return of skilled workers is easing a shortage of skilled trades.

The top six fastest-growing regions are: Wide Bay at 13.6 per cent; the Sunshine Coast at 12.5 per cent; Townsville at 12 per cent; Central Queensland at 11.5 per cent; and Moreton Bay South and Toowoomba both at 10.4 per cent.

The data shows Queensland’s four fastest-growing industries are: healthcare and social assistance; professional scientific and technical services; accommodation and food services; and education and training.

The healthcare and social assistance industry continues to be an employment powerhouse, with an expected 17 per cent increase by 2025-26. Industries impacted by COVID-19 have bounced back, with almost 21,000 more people employed in accommodation and food services, 9000 more in retail and 2000 more in arts and recreation projected by 2025-26.

Member for Nicklin Rob Skelton says the data is positive news for the region.

“This data confirms what many of us locals already know: the Sunshine Coast is one of the greatest places to work and live in Queensland. Our region continues to grow at a substantial pace, thanks to the ongoing investments made by the state government, ensuring thousands more people have access to gainful employment,” he says.

Meanwhile, the HIA Trades Report provides a quarterly review of the availability of skilled trades and any demand pressures on trades operating in the residential building industry.

HIA senior economist Tom Devitt says the report for the June Quarter 2023 shows continued improvement in the availability of skilled tradespeople across the country.

The report’s Trades Availability Index registered -0.62 for the June Quarter 2023, compared with the -0.92 peak a year ago.

“While the index still reflects some of the most-acute shortages of skilled tradespeople since HIA started this report in 2003, the trajectory is most encouraging,” Mr Devitt says.

“Some of the greatest improvements in availability over the last year have been in the trades of carpentry, roofing and bricklaying, precisely where the most acute shortages had been a year ago.

“The return of skilled workers since the reopening of Australia’s international borders in late 2021 is making a difference to a number of sectors, including house and apartment construction and manufacturing businesses.”

Ms Devitt says that as tradespeople have become more available, the price of trades also has slowed.

“The price of skilled trades increased by 3.4 per cent in the last year, compared to the 10 per cent peak a year earlier. This is much closer to the two per cent average annual increase that prevailed in the decade-and-a-half before the pandemic.”

Tackling the aged care crisis locally

As industries such as the aged-care sector continue to experience worker shortages, a collaborative university and industry program is helping fast-track 14 local students from learning to working.

After a successful pilot in Gympie, Lutheran Services and the University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC) have expanded the Transition to Practice program with final-year nursing students in Caboolture, Buderim and Gympie.

The program provides Bachelor of Nursing Science students with a final placement that incorporates hands-on learning vital to improving quality of life for residents in aged care.

UniSC aged care specialist Dr John Rosenberg says the program provides the students with real-world, hands-on experience that will aid in their career development.

Min Seo, service manager at Lutheran Services Immanuel Gardens Aged Care in Buderim, says aged care is a specialist role for nurses. “One of the biggest issues we face in our industry is a critical staff shortage and this program’s supporting us to face this head on,” she says.

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