Never a better time to join construction industry

There has never been a better time to join the construction industry, says Professor of construction management at AUT, John Tookey.

Population growth and changing rules around urban density mean development is continuing to ramp up, and all sectors of the industry desperately need more staff. AUT is responding to the ongoing skills shortages in the industry by launching a new Bachelor of Construction in 2022, with two majors in either Construction Management or Quantity Surveying.

“These two careers appear on Immigration New Zealand’s long-term skills shortages list. The job prospects for graduates are there as the demand for housing continues to soar,” says Tookey.

The issues facing the construction sector in Auckland are well known but are not unique to the city. Graduates of the new programme will be well equipped for jobs here and overseas.

“The construction industry is facing several challenges, one of which is the skills shortage. These issues are compounding to make a difficult problem much worse. It’s definitely a fascinating time to be part of the industry.

“Auckland has been particularly hard hit by the latest Covid-19 lockdowns, with as much as 15% of expected builds delayed by alert Level 4 restrictions and corresponding supply chain issues. As we climb out of the lockdown restrictions building activity will naturally gear up. The reality is Auckland needs new houses being built at a faster rate than they are currently to cater to its rapidly expanding population. It’s imperative that we have qualified professionals able to help guide our construction pipeline.”

Tookey says that on top of the skills shortages, which have been exacerbated by closed borders, supply chain constrains and materials price increases, the reliance on property investment, regulatory issues and a backlog in council consents and compliance are creating a perfect storm.

“It’s taken years to create this situation, and will unfortunately take years to resolve. There are no quick fixes, but there are many opportunities to improve outcomes in our construction industry.

“At AUT we have proven skills in educating and developing the workforce our industry needs, and we work closely with industry to do so. We’re excited to add Construction Management and Quantity Surveying to the range of Built Environment Engineering courses we offer.”