Tackling affordable housing
Victoria is Australia’s fastest growing state. The state’s population is estimated to reach 10.3 million by 2051 – Melbourne will be home to more than eight million people, and regional Victoria will be home to more than 2.3 million.
Across Australia, finding an affordable home is becoming harder than ever before. Particularly in regional Victoria, finding a place to live is one of the biggest challenges in attracting and keeping workers.
Victoria’s Housing Statement(opens in a new window) is an ambitious plan to tackle the root of the problem: housing supply. It includes a bold target to build 800,000 homes in Victoria over the next decade (Premier of Victoria (2023), Affordability Partnership To Build 800,000 Victorian Homes(opens in a new window), 20 September).
Building on key initiatives such as the Big Housing Build(opens in a new window), the Housing Statement kicks off the critical work needed to build more homes across Victoria.
To achieve these objectives, the Housing Statement proposes initiatives to stimulate investment, build high-quality homes where Victorians want to live, protect renters’ rights, and build more social and affordable housing for those who need it most.
Developing the workforce is key to supporting the housing target. Victoria’s vocational and education training (VET) system plays a critical role in preparing the workers for the range of jobs that will be in demand.
The Victorian Budget 2023/24 invests $80 million to deliver two new TAFE campuses in Sunbury and Melton. Melton TAFE will be a dedicated construction skills facility supporting around 600 students annually to get the skills they need for the trade career they want.
Free TAFE(opens in a new window) is helping to build the pipeline of skilled workers through easy access to priority VET courses.
These include the Certificate III in Concreting, Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services, Certificate IV in Building and Construction, Diploma of Building and Construction and Advanced Diploma of Building and Surveying.
There are also more opportunities for upskilling or reskilling in construction, with the removal of the once-in-a-lifetime limit and ‘upskilling rule’ on Free TAFE. Learners can have multiple Free TAFE courses under Free TAFE priority pathways (which includes building and construction) and start a Free TAFE course no matter what qualifications they already hold.
The Big Build Apprenticeships Program(opens in a new window) is increasing the supply of apprentices which will be critical in meeting the skills requirements of the Housing Statement.
Jenny’s successful journey with Victoria’s Big Build Apprenticeship Program
Jenny Pace is proving that age is no barrier to a rewarding career in the trades. She is working as a sprinkler fitter on the Flemington housing precinct, and never imagined that a trade was a viable way to support her family while doing a practical, hands-on job she enjoys.
Jenny’s advice to women considering entering a trade is give it a go, as there is nothing to lose and only skills and experience to gain.