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One of the best decisions I ever made was dropping out of University to pursue a trade

Our state is on a roll. We’re currently enjoying a period of unprecedented growth and prosperity. But at the same time, we’re also increasingly finding it difficult to meet the demand for skilled workers and apprentices. As a result, the construction sector is starting to face a crisis.

What industry and employers desperately need is to place more skilled workers into future jobs that meet business demand.

Electricians, carpenters and business services are in the top five job related enrolments at TAFE NSW. These are the trades that the next generation should be thinking about as a career option.

The make up of the workforce is changing. A survey of the career aspirations of 1,000 Gen Y students found 53 per cent expected three job changes within 20 years. But unless students have the incentive to get a trade and employers have the mechanism to attract more skilled students, then a bigger unemployment issue will emerge.

It’s important we empower small businesses. These are the people who keep local communities strong and invest their livelihoods, making sure people have jobs. They’re your local electrician, your local carpenter, the friendly faces at the café around the corner.

The Housing Industry Association reports that in 2014 NSW had the smallest migration outflow since the early 1980s. This clearly shows residents and businesses want to tap into our state’s unprecedented period of investment.

To fix this skills shortage and create jobs I am advocating strongly for more skilled students. From own my experience I’ve seen the value of a skilled workforce and what it brings to communities as well as local economies.

One of the best decisions I ever made was dropping out of University to pursue a trade. The life skills it provided me meant I was able to build a business, earn a good wage, and hire and train skilled apprentices. I even mortgaged my home to grow the business. The skills I learned from all of this I still have today.

The reality is that governments must look at revenues just like any other business. And if more elected representatives were tradies who had to mortgage their homes, then governments would be far more advanced at delivering long-term job creation initiatives.

As a government, we need to do our bit to make it easier, simpler and more efficient for employers to find the right training provider to upskill their apprentice or trainees. Over the next 18 months, this government will provide up to $100 million to fund the creation of 47,000 new apprenticeships.

Put simply, anyone who doesn’t recognise that there is a changing workforce and demand for skills has their head in the sand.

Our state is in a great position. We have a thriving small business community. We have a booming construction industry. All we need now are the skilled workers to fill all those jobs and build our future workforce. So consider learning a trade and be a part of our state’s future.

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