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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 until 2023.

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

  • Building and Plumbing Labourers
  • Earthmoving Plant Operators
  • Paving and Surfacing 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, Drilling, Extractive Industries and Metalliferous Mining 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 most recently available Skills Forecast, the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast.

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

IRC and skills forecasts

The Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC was not required to submit an annual update to their 2019 Skills Forecast during 2020. As such, the version published in 2019 remains the most recently published Skills Forecast for this industry.

Civil Infrastructure IRC

Employment trends

Please note: any employment projections outlined below were calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics prior to COVID-19.

Employment snapshot

The employment level in the Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction sector increased overall between 2000 and 2020 despite some fluctuations related to industry cycles. There was a very large increase in employment between 2017 and 2018 (over 40%). A decline in 2019 to 114,300 was followed by an increase in 2020 to 118,500. The employment level is projected to rise to around 120,300 by 2024.

The most common VET-related occupation in this sector is Earth Moving Plant Operators which makes up nearly 6% of the sector workforce. The employment level in this occupation is projected to increase by around 7% over the next 5 years to 2024. Architectural, Building and Surveying Technicians and Building and Plumbing Labourers, with over 4% and nearly 5% of the sector workforce, are projected to increase by around 20% and 11% respectively.

Training trends

Training snapshot

In 2019 there were approximately 32,360 program enrolments in Civil Infrastructure-related qualifications, continuing the trend downwards since 2015. Program completions sharply decreased from 9,880 in the previous year to 4,890 in 2019.

The large majority of enrolments were at the certificate III level in 2019 (90%). The main intended occupation for enrolments in civil construction or civil construction operations-related qualifications was Earthmoving Plant Operator (General). 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 2019, 85% of the qualifications were delivered by private training providers with TAFE institutes making up most of the remaining portion (13%). The majority (95%) of subjects delivered by TAFE institutes were Commonwealth and state funded; this dropped to 72% for private training providers. Thirty-five per cent of students enrolled were from Queensland, with 26% from New South Wales and 23% from Victoria.

More than one third of training was delivered in Queensland (36%), followed by Victoria (26%) and New South Wales (25%).

During 2019, there were approximately 3,130 apprenticeship and traineeship commencements and 1,570 completions. Following a period of increase between 2010 and 2014 commencement numbers gradually decreased, however have increased slightly between 2018 and 2019. Completion numbers have declined since peaking in 2015. As at December 2019, 40% of apprentice training was reported from Queensland, followed by Victoria (20%) and New South Wales (19%). A large portion of apprentices and trainees (87%) 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. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

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 2019 Skills Forecast identifies the top priority skills for the Civil Infrastructure sector as:

  • Digital literacy
  • Workplace safety practices
  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving
  • Environmental sustainability.

The top generic skills listed in the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast in order of importance to the industry are:

  • 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 Other Building and Engineering Technicians. The top employers for workers in this industry were Thiess and Southern Cross Electrical Engineering.

The Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast also identifies several key issues affecting skills and training needs within the Civil Infrastructure sector:

  • A steady pipeline of large-scale projects, predominantly road and rail projects in the major cities, is predicted to maintain demand for qualified workers within the Civil Infrastructure sector. Completion of the National Broadband Network (NBN) and uncertainty over energy policy may affect labour demand for utilities projects.
  • Digital literacy will become essential for learners to be successful in this sector as digital tools have become more widespread across operations. For example, building information modelling (BIM) provides a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of physical infrastructure, assisting delivery of projects at faster rates with lower costs and risk. Projects are also increasingly utilising prefabricated construction. Collaboration across the civil infrastructure and construction sectors may be necessary to avoid duplication when assessing the impact and skill needs of these technologies.
  • Safety and risk management are continuing to evolve in the Mining, Drilling and Civil Infrastructure Industry. Safety is the number one priority of the industry, and although safety metrics are improving, workers in the Civil Infrastructure sector may need hazard risk management and workplace health and safety training that specifically addresses issues such as fatigue management, heat stress and working from heights.

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

Links and resources

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

 

Relevant research

Infrastructure Priority List 2020 – Infrastructure Australia

Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019 – Infrastructure Australia

Future Cities: Planning for Our Growing Population – Infrastructure Australia

The Economic Impact of Australia's Roads – BIS Oxford Economics

Future Transport: Smart Cities – Roads Australia

 

Safety regulators

Access Canberra

NT WorkSafe

Safe Work Australia

SafeWork SA

SafeWork NSW

WorkCover Queensland

WorkSafe Tasmania

WorkSafe Victoria

WorkSafe Western Australia

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

For industry associations and advisory bodies specific to Coal Mining, Drilling, Extractive Industries and Metalliferous Mining sectors, please visit the respective pages.

 

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)

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2020, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal website

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, employment projections to May 2024
    • 310 Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction.
  • by ANZSCO, selected 4 digit occupations, employment projections to May 2024:
    • 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 2020, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 – EQ06, viewed 1 August 2020 https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202020?OpenDocument  

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, 2000 to 2020, May Quarter
    • 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
    • BCC20107 - Certificate II in Civil Construction
    • BCC20198 - Certificate II in Civil Construction
    • BCC30103 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
    • BCC30107 - 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)
    • RII20709 - Certificate II in Civil Construction
    • RII20712 - Certificate II in Civil Construction
    • RII20713 - Certificate II in Civil Construction
    • RII20715 - Certificate II in Civil Construction
    • RII20809 - Certificate II in Bituminous Surfacing
    • RII20813 - Certificate II in Bituminous Surfacing
    • RII30909 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
    • RII30912 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
    • RII30913 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
    • RII30915 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
    • 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
    • RII31215 - 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:

  • 2015 to 2019 program enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 subject enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 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 2019 commencements
  • 2010 to 2019 completions
  • 2019 apprentices and trainees in–training October to December 2019 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 2019 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2020, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2020, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2017 and June 2020 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
    • 8999 Other Miscellaneous Labourers
    • 3411 Electricians
    • 8211 Building and Plumbing Labourers
    • 31 Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction.
Updated: 30 Nov 2020
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