Industry CEO says Industry is not broken

Category: Blog

According to Education Reporter, Monique Hore and the Herald Sun, "Young Victorian tradies want to repair industry's broken image”.

Having entered the industry as an apprentice and now leading Australia’s largest network of plumbers and electricians, Steve Keil disputes that it is broken.

“The construction industry is growing and will continue to meet the needs of a growing population, however, I do believe that the perception around the industry as just a job, does need to change and the value of trades recognized by educators, Government, and society.”

“Around the world, one child dies every two minutes because they don’t have access to clean water.  In Australia, we are lucky to have our industry regulated, ensuring that our plumbers and electricians are trained and excel in their choice of trade” said Keil.


We are facing a well-documented skills shortage with more people leaving the industry than entering it.  One issue is the retirement of the baby boomers, however, at entry level, we also have an issue around the social perception that it is better for our children to go to University rather than take on a trade.


Parents and teachers are discouraging our youth from considering a trade apprenticeship despite 85.5 per cent of apprentices getting full-time jobs six months after completing their training, compared to 68 per cent of university graduates who find work within six months. “


But where the article is right is that taking on a trade as a career choice has changed from what it was 50 years ago.


Today's tradie is often a business owner and entrepreneurial. They are utilizing tools including cloud based software, have an understanding of marketing and know the importance of stakeholder engagement.  Networking has moved out of the bar with relationship marketing not only being focussed on clients but also businesses that they have traditionally competed against.  


“Many of our tradies are professional business owners, identifying opportunities in an ever-changing environment and changing their businesses to meet the demands of the consumer as well as the industry.


Taking on a trade should not be seen as something you do simply because you don’t want to finish school” says Keil, “but rather a skill that is only the beginning of your career.”