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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:

  • 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 2019 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 2018 despite some fluctuations related to industry cycles. There was a very large increase in employment between 2017 and 2018 (over 40%). The employment level is projected to rise further slightly over the next five years to 2023.

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

Training trends

Training snapshot

In 2018 there were approximately 31,020 program enrolments in Civil Infrastructure-related qualifications, continuing the trend downwards since 2015. Program completions in 2018 increased from the previous year to 9,720, although this was still below the level seen in 2015.

The large majority of enrolments were at the certificate III level in 2018. For enrolments in civil construction 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 2018, 86% of the qualifications were delivered by private training providers with TAFE institutes making up most of the remaining portion. The majority (94%) of subjects delivered by TAFE institutes were government-funded; this dropped to 70% for private training providers. Thirty-four per cent of students enrolled were from Queensland, with 31% from Victoria and 17% from New South Wales.

During 2018, there were approximately 2,840 apprenticeship commencements and 1,600 apprenticeship completions. Following a period of increase between 2013 and 2015 commencement numbers have gradually decreased towards the level seen in 2010. Completion numbers declined over the last three years since peaking in 2015. As at December 2018, 41% of apprentice training was reported from Queensland, followed by New South Wales (20%) and Victoria (15%). 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. 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 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 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

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 – Infrastructure Australia

Resources and Infrastructure: Industry Workforce Analysis and Forecast – SkillsDMC

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal website:

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, employment projections to May 2023
    • 310 Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction.
  • by ANZSCO, selected 4 digit occupations, employment projections to May 2023:
    • 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 2018, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 – EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument.

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, 2000 to 2018, 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, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 subject enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 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 2018 commencements
  • 2010 to 2018 completions 
  • 2018 apprentices and trainees in–training October to December 2018 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 2019, Labour Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2019, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2016 and June 2019 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: 01 Nov 2019
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