GROWING INDUSTRY: Wide Bay is experiencing a rise in construction apprentices.
GROWING INDUSTRY: Wide Bay is experiencing a rise in construction apprentices. Brett Wortman

Construction industry leads growth in region

BUNDABERG'S construction sector is on the rise, and so are the number of apprentices.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia conference will be held today, and is set to include an industry forecast for the Wide Bay region.

Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ) director of data and evidence Robert Sobyra said Bundaberg was in the midst of a growth spurt for the building industry and its apprentices.

Mr Sobyra said construction companies and builders in the region had doubled their apprentice intake as activity looks to lift 15 per cent by 2021.

"There are strong numbers with a bit of a spike,” Mr Sobyra said.

"Broadly speaking, Bundaberg has an apprentice training rate - which is number of apprentices for every 100 workers - slightly above state average of 7.0 per cent.

"Bundaberg has 7.3 per cent and it is looking good in that sense. A good place to be apprentice is around the Wide Bay.”

Mr Sobyra said there were a good number of apprentices that go on to work with construction companies where they did their apprenticeship.

"They do hang around. There is a bit of an urban myth that apprentices won't be supported or that they might be used and abused - its not the case,” he said.

"The apprenticeship pipeline is looking in pretty good shape. The Wide Bay is in the sweet spot of a growth spurt in the construction sector,” Mr Sobyra said.

The latest data for 2017 showed more than $200 million was spent in the commercial sector and almost $800 million in the residential sector across the region.

"We see the region as a whole is about 12 months into a broad based modest upswing, across residential and commercial building,” he said.

"We see that upswing which will lift construction activity 13 per cent between 2017 and 2020 and we see green shoots are appearing in the economy.

"There are definite signs of a recovery, and we are also seeing population growth bouncing back, all heading in the right direction.”