The construction sector in Australia faces a looming skills crisis and is graduating only just over one third of the apprentices it needs to meet anticipated future needs, a leading building industry lobby group says.

New data from the National Centre for Vocational Educational Research shows that the total number of apprentices in training within the building and construction industry fell from 56,000 as at June 2013 to 43,100 as at June 2014 and had declined by 23 percent since 2010. Master Builders Australia chief…