Lennox Head builder Mal McGregor says that it is hard to find good qualified tradesmen in the area.
Lennox Head builder Mal McGregor says that it is hard to find good qualified tradesmen in the area.

Skills shortage a worry for building industry



MAL McGREGOR dreads the day he ever has to find replacement tradesmen to support his construction business.

"There are plenty of 'tradies' out there but it's hard to find good tradies," said Mr McGregor, a licensed builder, of Lennox Head.

"The most difficult to get are good tilers and painters but good quality tradesmen in general are hard to get."

Mr McGregor also echoed a trend noted by the Master Builders' Association of NSW; tradies are ageing, are tired and a little daunted by increasing regulation of their industry.

As a result, licensed tradesmen, who have traditionally employed apprentices, are now reluctant to continue the practice feeling they have done their bit for their industry.

Master Builders' Association NSW regional manager Selina Atkinson said a 2005 survey by MBA of tradesmen within rural and regional NSW reveal that most tradies have an exit strategy in place.

"A lot of builders are in their mid-40s and have been working for over 20 years," she said.

"They are usually mum and dad businesses and are timepoor and are trying to keep on top of increasing legislation within their industry as well as caring for the family and mum's career."

To combat this decline, Mrs Atkinson said the building and associated professions are being 'sexed-up' to appeal to stu- dents as a career choice.



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