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Overview

This page provides information and data on the Civil Infrastructure sector, which is a component of the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure industry.

The Civil Infrastructure sector incorporates all civic and industrial infrastructure works (excluding the erection of buildings). Activities include road construction, plant operation, pipeline construction, trenchless technology, bridge construction, rail construction and tunnelling. Large state and federal government infrastructure programs have increased public investment in civil infrastructure programs and are expected to drive growth in the sector over the next five years.

Vocational education and training (VET) is required for a range of Civil Infrastructure sector related occupations such as:

  • Earthmoving Plant Operators
  • Paving and Surfacing Labourers
  • Building and Plumbing Labourers.

Nationally recognised training for Civil Infrastructure occupations is delivered under the RII Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package

For more information on Coal Mining, Extractive Industries, Metalliferous Mining, and Drilling sectors, please visit the respective pages.  For information and data on training qualifications that apply to multiple sectors within the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure industry please visit the Resources and Infrastructure Cross Sector page.

Information sourced from the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Overall the employment level in the Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction industry increased between 2000 and 2017 despite some fluctuations related to industry cycles. The employment level is projected to rise slightly further over the next five years.

The occupation of Earth Moving Plant Operators makes up nearly 6% of the industry workforce. The employment level in this occupation is projected to decrease very slightly over the next 5 years.

Training trends

Training snapshot

In 2017, there were approximately 41,000 program enrolments in Civil Infrastructure related qualifications, continuing the trend downwards since 2015. Program completions in 2017 increased from the previous year to just under 8,000, although this was still below 2014–15 levels.

In 2017, the large majority of enrolments were at the certificate III level. For enrolments in civil construction (General) or civil construction operations related qualifications, the main intended occupation was Earthmoving Plant Operator. For those enrolled in civil construction supervision related qualifications, the intended occupation was either Building Associate or Civil Engineering Technician. Civil construction design related qualifications had an intended occupation of Civil Engineering Draftsperson.

For enrolments during 2017, over 80% of the qualifications were delivered by private training providers with TAFE institutes making up most of the remaining portion. The majority (93%) of subjects delivered by TAFE institutes were government-funded, this dropped to 75% for private training providers. Over a third of students enrolled were from Queensland, and just over a quarter came from Victoria.

During 2017, there were approximately 3,500 apprenticeship commencements and 1,900 apprenticeship completions. In 2017. commencement numbers were similar to the previous year, but below 2014–15 levels. Completion numbers declined over the last two years since peaking in 2015. As at December 2017, just under 45% of apprentice training was reported from Queensland.   A large portion of apprentices were training towards the intended occupation of Earthmoving Plant Operator (General).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET Students by Industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast, identifies the most important generic workforce skill priorities for the Civil Infrastructure sector as:

  • language, literacy and numeracy
  • learning agility/information literacy/intellectual autonomy and self-management
  • technology
  • science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
  • managerial/leadership.

According to the job vacancy data, the top requested generic skills by employers were communication and planning skills. The most advertised occupations in the Civil Infrastructure sector were Architectural, Building and Surveying Technicians, followed by Building and Engineering Technicians (Other).

The IRC Skills Forecast also identifies a number of key issues affecting job demand and skills needs within the Civil Infrastructure sector:

  • Infrastructure has become a national priority in Australia, creating a solid pipeline of large scale projects such as rail, roads, schools and hospitals, increasing the demand for qualified workers within the Civil Infrastructure sector.
  • These large scale civil infrastructure projects are attracting workers formally employed in Mining sectors, highlighting the need for training that provides skills that are transferable between multiple sectors within the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure industry.
  • The rapid emergence of digital technology in the sector is expected to increase demand for Digital Designers and Data Interpreters. For example, Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology allows stakeholders to view a digital representation of a project from planning through to construction and operation. The continuing uptake of new technologies will require the sector workforce to be skilled in digital design and data interpretation.

For insights on the broader Resources and Infrastructure industry, please visit Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Regulators

Access Canberra

NT WorkSafe

Safe Work Australia

SafeWork SA

SafeWork NSW

WorkCover Queensland

WorkSafe Tasmania

WorkSafe Victoria

Worksafe WA - Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australasian Society for Trenchless Technology (ASTT)

Australian Asphalt Pavement Association (AAPA)

Australian Constructors Association (ACA)

Austroads

Auststab

Civil Contractors Federation (CCF)

Construction & Mining Equipment Industry Group (CMEIG)

Construction Skills QLD

Dial Before You Dig

Engineers Australia

Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA)

Roads Australia

Traffic Management Association of Australia (TMAA)

State training advisory bodies

Construction Industry Training Board (SA)

Energy Skills Queensland (ESQ)

Industry Skills Advisory Council Northern Territory (ISAC NT)

Resources Industry Training Council (RITCWA)

Resources and Infrastructure NSW - Industry Training Advisory Body

Employee associations

Australian Workers' Union (AWU)

Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union (CFMEU)

Relevant research

Infrastructure Australia Australian infrastructure plan 2016: priorities and reforms for our nation’s future

Infrastructure Australia Future cities: planning for our growing population

Infrastructure Australia Prioritising reform: progress on the 2016 Australian Infrastructure Plan

SkillsDMC Resources and infrastructure: industry workforce analysis and forecast

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal website:

  • employment projections to May 2022, by ANZSIC 3 digit industry:
    • 310 Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction.
  • by ANZSCO, selected 4 digit occupations, employment projections to May 2022:
    • 7212 Earthmoving Plant Operators
    • 8215 Paving and Surfacing Labourers
    • 8211 Building and Plumbing Labourers
    • 3121 Architectural, Building and Surveying Technicians
    • 3223 Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers
    • 3232 Metal Fitters and Machinists.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 – EQ06, viewed 1 September 2017 <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202017?OpenDocument>.

  • Employed total, 2000 to 2017, May quarter, by ANZSIC 3 digit industry:
    • 310 Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by:
    • 310 Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction
    • 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.                                         

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

RII Resources and Infrastructure Industry and BCC Civil Construction Industry Training Packages:

  • Civil Construction
    • BCC20103 - Certificate II in Civil Construction
    • BCC20198 - Certificate II in Civil Construction
    • BCC30107 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
    • RII20709 - Certificate II in Civil Construction
    • RII20712 - Certificate II in Civil Construction
    • RII20713 - Certificate II in Civil Construction
    • RII20715 - Certificate II in Civil Construction
    • RII30909 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
    • RII30912 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
    • RII30913 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
    • RII30915 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
    • RII31215 - Certificate III in Civil Foundations
    • BCC20107 - Certificate II in Civil Construction
    • BCC30103 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
    • BCC30198 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Plant)
    • BCC30203 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Bituminous Surfacing)
    • BCC30207 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Bituminous Surfacing)
    • BCC30298 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Road Construction & Maintenance)
    • BCC30303 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Bridge Construction and Maintenance)
    • BCC30307 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Bridge Construction and Maintenance)
    • BCC30398 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Tunnel Construction)
    • BCC30403 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Foundation Work)
    • BCC30407 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Foundation Work)
    • BCC30498 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Bridge/Marine Construction)
    • BCC30503 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Pipe Laying)
    • BCC30507 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Pipe Laying)
    • BCC30598 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Foundation Work - Anchors/Piling)
    • RII20809 - Certificate II in Bituminous Surfacing
    • RII20813 - Certificate II in Bituminous Surfacing
    • RII31009 - Certificate III in Bituminous Surfacing
    • RII31109 - Certificate III in Bridge Construction and Maintenance
    • RII31209 - Certificate III in Civil Foundations
    • RII31213 - Certificate III in Civil Foundations
    • RII31309 - Certificate III in Pipe Laying
    • RII31409 - Certificate III in Road Construction and Maintenance
    • RII60609 - Advanced Diploma of Civil Construction
    • RII60613 - Advanced Diploma of Civil Construction
    • RII60615 - Advanced Diploma of Civil Construction
  • Civil Construction Design
    • RII40809 - Certificate IV in Civil Construction Design
    • RII40813 - Certificate IV in Civil Construction Design
    • RII40815 - Certificate IV in Civil Construction Design
    • RII50509 - Diploma of Civil Construction Design
    • RII50513 - Diploma of Civil Construction Design
    • RII50515 - Diploma of Civil Construction Design
    • RII60509 - Advanced Diploma of Civil Construction Design
    • RII60513 - Advanced Diploma of Civil Construction Design
    • RII60515 - Advanced Diploma of Civil Construction Design
  • Civil Construction Operations
    • BCC30603 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Plant Operations)
    • BCC30607 - Certificate III in Civil Construction (Plant Operations)
    • RII30809 - Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operations
    • RII30813 - Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operations
    • RII30815 - Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operations
    • RII40609 - Certificate IV in Civil Construction Operations
    • RII40613 - Certificate IV in Civil Construction Operations
    • RII40615 - Certificate IV in Civil Construction Operations
  • Civil Construction Supervision
    • RII40709 - Certificate IV in Civil Construction Supervision
    • RII40712 - Certificate IV in Civil Construction Supervision
    • RII40713 - Certificate IV in Civil Construction Supervision
    • RII40715 - Certificate IV in Civil Construction Supervision
    • RII50409 - Diploma of Civil Construction Management
    • RII50413 - Diploma of Civil Construction Management
    • RII50415 - Diploma of Civil Construction Management.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence.  Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality. 

RII Resources and Infrastructure Industry and BCC Civil Construction Industry Training Packages apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2017 commencements
  • 2010 to 2017 completions 
  • 2017 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2017 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Generic skills data have been extracted from the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2018, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2018, <https://www.burning-glass.com>.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2015 and June 2018 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • Labourers, Machinery Operators and Drivers, Technicians and Trades Workers
    • 31 Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction.
  • Employers
    • 3121 Architectural, Building and Surveying Technicians
    • 3129 Other Building and Engineering Technicians
    • 8211 Building and Plumbing Labourers
    • 8999 Other Miscellaneous Labourers
    • 3411 Electricians
    • 31 Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction.
Updated: 17 Dec 2018
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