Nicole Dunchouk and Russell McMaster are nervous about the prospect of further unemployment.
Nicole Dunchouk and Russell McMaster are nervous about the prospect of further unemployment. Sunshine Coast Daily

Building jobs dwindling

HE HAS the qualifications, years of experience and excellent references to boot - but this hasn't been enough for Russell McMaster to find a job.

The licensed builder and his partner Nicole Dunchouk are now wondering what it will take to find work in the construction industry on the Sunshine Coast.

They've spent more than a year in a fruitless job search.

Their attempts to win tenders by starting their own construction company have also failed.

"Russell has been in the industry for over 25 years," Ms Dunchouk said.

"He's never had to put out a resume before.

"He's put it out over 50 times applying for things he is qualified for with skills he has, but he hasn't even got an email back or a phone call.

"I know there are hundreds applying for the same job, but I don't know what else we've got to do."

The couple quit their full-time jobs to start McMaster Construction about three years ago.

They've spent months applying for projects on the Coast, but lost time and time again to "bigger construction companies".

"The projects put out for tender are being dominated by the local giants of the construction industry as they quote at less than cost just keep their workers in a job and hold onto their reputation," Ms Dunchouk said.

While they are struggling to deal with their own stresses, they are being besieged by other people calling them in the hope they have work to offer.

"We get about four calls a day from all sorts of tradespeople asking if we have anything for them to quote or any work for them."

A report by the Urban Development Institute of Australia has shown more than $331 million and 2500 jobs have been lost from the Coast's construction industry since 2008.

A Hutchinson spokesman said the construction giant had managed to stay viable by diversifying into the resources industry.

"This was part of our strategy to deal with what was then the perceived likelihood of the impact of the GFC," the spokesman said.



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