The Intergenerational Report outlines the challenge of encouraging greater participation in the workforce as Australians live longer and healthier.

“Innovative approaches will be needed to both skilling and up skilling to ensure the building and construction industry can attract more young people to careers in our industry while dealing with the challenge of an increasing number of aging workers,” Wilhelm Harnisch CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

The building and construction industry is the largest employer of skilled tradespeople in the Australian economy with approximately two thirds of the workforce employed in skilled roles. In November 2014, there were just over 1,050,000 people employed in the building and construction industry, which represents around 9 per cent of total employment.

Over the next decade, the industry will require an additional 300,000 workers to meet forecast demand for construction work valued at $2.8 trillion.

“The Intergenerational Report projects that a lower proportion of Australians will be working over the next 40 years, particularly in comparison to those aged over 65. This poses a particular challenge for the building and construction industry where there is predominance of blue collar workers and their physical capacity to continue working beyond the age 50-55 is limited,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“To meet the needs of the industry, and both younger and older workers, the Government must heavily invest in post-secondary education, particularly skills training,” he said.

“The current apprenticeship system is in need of a major review to make sure young people can be attracted to work in the trades, employers can be supported to take more apprentices on and the training system can deliver flexible and effective skills for the future,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“As the report highlights, increased rates of workforce participation among older workers and those in non-traditional roles, such as women in construction are also needed,” he said.

“Assistant Minister for Education Simon Birmingham’s important reforms to advance the future skills agenda are a good start,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

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