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Specialist Construction Services

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Specialist Construction Services sector, which is one component of the Construction industry.

The Specialist Construction Services sector includes other construction services such as construction crane operations, waterproofing of buildings, dogging, post-tensioning, rigging, scaffolding, and swimming pool or spa building. Landscape Construction services and Hire of Construction Machinery are also classified as part of this sector. These sub-sectors are typically characterised by small-scale businesses that operate at the local level, with a few large-scale businesses operating in waterproofing and scaffolding services.

Across this sector, licensing requirements vary depending on the type of work. In the Construction Machinery industry, relevant qualifications and licensing are mandatory for equipment operators, project directors and supervisors. National high-risk work licences are also needed for working on all types of cranes. Contractors in waterproofing and scaffolding are required to have high-risk work licenses for scaffolding and rigging. However, many other services do not require formal qualifications or licenses.

Nationally recognised training for Specialist Construction Services is delivered under the CPC – Construction, Plumbing and Services Training Package.

For information on general construction-related skills see General Construction and Demolition.

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

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Employment levels in this sector (represented by the ‘Other Construction Services’ industry code) increased from 59,500 in 2002 to 124,100 in 2022, and are projected to grow to 135,000 by 2025.

Handypersons comprised the highest proportion of VET-related occupations (11%) across the Other Construction Services industry workforce in 2021, followed by Fencers (10%). Projections to 2026 indicate employment levels will grow for Insulation and Home Improvement Installers (9%), Handypersons (5%) and Fencers (5%). However, employment levels to 2026 are projected to decrease for Structural Steel Construction Workers (7%).

Training trends

Training snapshot

Overall, program enrolments in Specialist Construction Services-related qualifications decreased from approximately 10,090 in 2017 to 9,390 in 2021. Program completions declined over the same period, from approximately 1,400 in 2017 to 1,210 in 2021.

Nearly all qualifications undertaken in 2021 were at the certificate III level and nearly half of all program enrolments were in Dogging qualifications (49%). A further 22% were in Construction Waterproofing and Swimming Pool/Spa Building qualifications. The most common intended occupation in this sector was Crane, Hoist or Lift Operator (49%).

Private training providers delivered 89% of Specialist Construction Services-related qualifications in 2021, with the remaining 11% delivered by TAFE institutes. All program enrolments in Dogging-related qualifications were delivered by private training providers.

Overall, more than half (56%) of the subjects in Specialist Construction Services-related qualifications in 2021 were funded through domestic fee for service arrangements, with the remaining proportion (44%) Commonwealth and state funded. However, funding sources varied by provider type.

Queensland (59%) had the highest proportion of students enrolled in Specialist Construction Services-related qualifications in 2021, followed by New South Wales (24%). Most of the training in this sector was delivered in Queensland (60%), followed by New South Wales (24%) and Victoria (15%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements fluctuated between 2012 and 2021, with peaks in 2013 and 2020, with commencements reaching approximately 300 in both years. In 2021, there were 270 apprentice and trainee commencements in the sector. Between 2012 and 2021, the number of completions peaked in 2013, at approximately 120. In 2021, there were approximately 70 completions.

The most common intended occupation for apprentices and trainees in this sector was Scaffolder. Queensland (44%), reported the highest proportion of apprentices and trainees in 2021, followed by the Australian Capital Territory (25%) and New South Wales (21%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry group or training package, visit NCVER’s Data Builder.

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

For an analysis of skills needs and workforce demand, see the Construction cluster page.

The Construction, Plumbing and Services IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast was the final skills forecast released by the IRC. It reported had received direct requests for training products to address industry skills needs in Rope Work and Swimming Pool and Spa Building Certificate III.

Rope Work was an example of niche training that occurred outside of the national system, according to the IRC’s Skills Forecast 2020. The skill is used in working at heights as a less expensive access approach than scaffolding or where access equipment may not be practicable, such as painters accessing the outside of high-rise buildings. The IRC reported there was no national training product in this area and a small number of industry members directly requested training be developed. At the time, the industry’s training needs were met through private training. In response, the Construction IRC instructed Artibus Innovation to assess its viability for including within nationally endorsed training.

During the redevelopment of the Certificate IV in Swimming Pool and Spa Building employers reported there were challenges in recruiting new entrants to this sub-sector of the industry. According the Skills Forecast 2020, the feedback pointed to a gap and desire from industry to develop an apprenticeship pathway for trade entry, which led to the development of the Certificate III in Swimming Pool and Spa Building.

Separately, at the request of the IRC, Artibus Innovation developed training products in construction waterproofing design and survey to address a gap in skills and knowledge, including a diploma, six new units of competency and two skills sets. Artibus Innovation reported that waterproofing defects and associated water entry and moisture were the most prevalent consequence and contributor to building defects across Australia, costing consumers millions. As of October 2022, the Case for Endorsement was being considered by the Australian Industry Skills Committee.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Industry Employment Projections viewed 1 August 2021, Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 3-digit 329 Other Construction Services industry, employment projections to May 2025.

National Skills Commission 2022, Occupation Employment Projections viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nationalskillscommission.gov.au/topics/employment-projections

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2026
    • 7121 Crane, Hoist and Lift Operators
    • 8213 Fencers
    • 8993 Handypersons
    • 8214 Insulation and Home Improvement Installers
    • 8217 Structural Steel Construction Workers.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2022, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ06 - Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, viewed 1 August 2022. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2022

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 3-digit 329 Other Construction Services industry, 2002 to 2022, May Quarter.

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

  • Employment level by 3-digit 329 Other Construction Services industry, and 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 packages or qualifications:

  • CPC Construction, Plumbing and Services, BCF Off-Site Construction, BCG General Construction and BCP Plumbing and Services Training Packages.
  • Construction Waterproofing and Swimming Pool/Spa Building
    • BCG31403 - Certificate III in Waterproofing (General Construction)
    • CPC31408 - Certificate III in Construction Waterproofing
    • CPC31411 - Certificate III in Construction Waterproofing
    • CPC31420 - Certificate III in Construction Waterproofing
    • CPC40808 - Certificate IV in Swimming Pool and Spa Building
    • CPC40820 – Certificate IV in Swimming Pool and Spa Building.
  • Dogging
    • BCG30503 - Certificate III in Dogging
    • CPC30508 - Certificate III in Dogging
    • CPC30511 - Certificate III in Dogging.
  • Rigging
    • BCG30703 - Certificate III in Rigging
    • CPC30708 - Certificate III in Rigging
    • CPC30711 - Certificate III in Rigging
    • CPC30720 - Certificate III in Rigging
    • CPC31712 - Certificate III in Post-Tensioning.
  • Scaffolding and Construction Crane Operations
    • BCG30903 - Certificate III in Scaffolding
    • CPC30908 - Certificate III in Scaffolding
    • CPC30911 - Certificate III in Scaffolding
    • CPC30920 - Certificate III in Scaffolding
    • CPC32912 - Certificate III in Construction Crane Operations
    • CPC32920 - Certificate III in Construction Crane Operations.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

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

  • 2017 to 2021 program enrolments
  • 2017 to 2021 program completions
  • 2021 subject enrolments.

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.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.  This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

CPC Construction, Plumbing and Services, BCF Off-Site Construction, BCG General Construction and BCP Plumbing and Services Training Packages apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2012 to 2021 commencements
  • 2012 to 2021 completions
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2021 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.
Updated: 29 Nov 2022
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