Engineering job opportunities even in downturn - expert

METAL fitters and machinists do it better - find a job that is.

Young people who completed a high-school-based vocational education and training metal fitter and machinist course are more likely to find work in the Rockhampton region.

Around 3107 graduates are taking home a pay packet as are VET-graduate electricians (1742), drillers, miners and shot firers (1215), carpenters and joiners (769) and general clerks (768), a Queensland School Local Labour Market Profile reveals.

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek yesterday announced 38 more qualifications and skills program subsidies for students to address skills shortages and boost productivity.

"On top of the qualifications that we already subsidise, areas as diverse as engineering, health, hospitality, mining, tourism, transport, utilities and agriculture are now also government subsidised," he said.

CQUniversity TAFE pro vice-chancellor Dr Greg McMillan said the 2011 mining boom in Central Queensland drove metal fitting and machinery qualification growth.

"Around 2011 you had that really high strong demand for coal so the industry was pumping out a high level of production but on top of that you had a very high growth in construction whether that was in around the Gladstone area with the ports, in Mackay and Rockhampton...," Dr McMillan said.

"You almost had a perfect synergy of high demand for product, high growth in the specific industry sectors that drew on the mechanical diesel fitters but of course you then dragged in a whole range of allied areas such as the carpentry and the general clerks."

Dr McMillan said an ageing workforce would help the region weather any downturn.

Dr McMillan said there would always be a need for these qualifications - even in a downturn.

"There'll be a whole bunch of plant operators out there or diesel fitters or mechanical qualified individuals who are in their 50s who are ending their work cycle," he said.

The government will fund 11 additional qualifications under the Certificate 3 Guarantee, with the remaining 19 qualifications and eight skill sets under the Higher Level Skills Program.

The qualifications will be subsidised from today and the subsidies for skill sets will be available from January.

TOP 10

Top 10 graduates who found jobs through VET courses in the Rockhampton region

1. Metal fitters and machinists - 3107

2. Electricians - 1742

3. Drillers, miners and shot firers - 1215

4. Carpenters and joiners - 769

5. General clerks - 768

6. Sales assistants (general) - 628

7. Motor mechanics - 592

8. Child carers - 573

9. Other building and engineering technicians - 571

10. Truck drivers - 553

Source: 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census

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