Existing workers who perform building related tasks in Queensland and wish to be recognised as a tradesperson in construction will have an alternative to completing a traditional apprenticeship under a new program announced by the Queensland government.

Targeting existing workers and labourers over the age of 21 in areas such as bricklaying, carpentry, painting, plastering or tiling, the Registered Trade Skills Pathway Construction Pilot Program will aim to assist non-qualified workers in a number of trades, helping them to build on existing skills, knowledge and experience to gain a Certificate III level qualification and be recognised as a qualified tradesperson.

Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek said the program represents a recognition that the traditional apprenticeship system does not cater for everyone and that work-based skills do not always come from regular, permanent forms of employment.

“Due to the nature of employment in the building and construction industry, it can be difficult for unqualified workers such as labourers and trades assistants to formalise their skills and experience and take the next step to a full trade qualification” Langbroek said. “Those who are employed casually or on project-based work may not be able to commit three or four years to an apprenticeship for a variety of personal or employment reasons.”

Set to be overseen by Construction Skills Queensland in conjunction with the Department of Education, Training and Employment, the plan revolves around participants working with a registered training organisation (RTO), which will develop a vocational training plan and issue a training record into which participants will record on-the-job experiences and achievement of competencies (verified by their employer).

Those who complete the program will emerge with a nationally recognised qualification from the RTO and a certificate of achievement from the Department of Education, Training and Employment.

Construction Skills Queensland chief executive officer Brett Schimming says the new program will support the expansion of qualified tradespeople throughout the state.

He says negotiations are underway to establish a similar scheme for the hospitality industry.

Up to 20 training places under the new program are expected to be made available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from the Cape area, north of Cairns.