The construction sector has called for the ACT government to increase construction apprenticeship funding to keep up with growing demand and a shortage of skills.
Master Builders ACT chief executive Michael Hopkins said there were currently more apprenticeship applicants than could be catered for and a skills shortage across Canberra.
"We are seeing really strong demand from employers wanting to take on young apprentices ... if the funding doesn't keep up with that demand we're concerned the quality of training will drop," Mr Hopkins said.
He said there was a particular shortage of bricklayers, but most areas were experiencing problems finding skilled plumbers, carpenters and electricians.
Skills Minister Chris Steel said the government would start consultation on the skills shortage in the next few weeks.
"This will help to inform subsidy levels and ensure funding for training is targeted to the jobs and sectors that need it the most," he said.
Mr Steel didn't respond to specific questions on funding but said the government was working to address the shortage.
"Access to skilled workers in the construction sector is a problem faced around Australia, particularly at this time of record infrastructure investment by all governments," he said.
"There are many young apprentices gaining valuable industry skills on our own infrastructure projects right now ... we will continue to provide as many opportunities as possible."
Mr Hopkins said the sector had benefited from ACT and federal government stimulus boosting demand, but training needed to keep up.
There has been an increase of more than 2100 construction jobs throughout 2021, however Mr Hopkins said employment in the sector was still down 3.2 per cent on pre-pandemic levels.
"We're finding strong demand from local businesses and members who are looking to employ apprentices," he said.
"The missing piece of making that all come together is to make sure the ACT government keeps up and increases training funding for apprentices."
He said the government had provided certainty funding would not be reduced until mid 2021 but called for clarity beyond that.
"So that we can can both increase the quantity and the quality of apprentice training over the next few years," Mr Hopkins said.
The minister said the government had provided payroll tax exemptions for businesses to train and retain apprentices and funded 3500 places through the JobTrainer program.
Mr Hopkins had called for a funding increase ahead of the 2020 election. He also wanted incumbent government to increase the mandatory number of apprentices on major government-funded projects.
"It's one of the ways the ACT government can support apprentices and young people by using their procurement policies," he said.
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