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'Up to 100 apprentices': Young tradies looking forward to working on planned Macquarie Point stadium

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Master Builders Tasmania CEO David Clerk, Property Council Tasmania CEO Rebecca Ellston and two young apprentices at Macquarie Point. Image / Pulse

The construction industry says the new Hobart stadium proposed to be built at Macquarie Point is a project of “global significance” that will provide the state’s up and coming builders with the chance to work alongside the world’s best.

Master Builders Tasmania CEO David Clerk said the stadium will offer new apprentices invaluable experience that they might not otherwise may not get exposure to.


“We think that at its peak there could be up to 100 apprentices working on this site,” he said.

“Given the shortage of large commercial projects in the state, a project of this scale just provides great opportunities to encourage students coming through school that may be thinking about a trade, getting involved with an apprenticeship, to aspire to be involved with a project like this.”

An aerial image of the proposed new Macquarie Point precinct. Image / Supplied

Clerk expressed concerns about the current workforce shortage, given a national shortfall of 14,000 tradies below the projected 40,000 needed to meet infrastructure demands over the next decade.

“We’ve got a couple of years to get things together and we believe that working with the state, understanding exactly the skills that are required, we can make sure that our pathways programs are correct,” he said.

Master Builders Tasmania CEO David Clerk. Image / Pulse

Clerk said that worries about shifting the building workforce away from housing to the stadium were ‘not as simple’ as it might seem.

“There’s two very distinct areas within the construction industry. We have residential building and we’ve got commercial construction,” he said.


“We have different skills in different spaces and for a building like the stadium, we are definitely going to require a lot of electrical workers, workers with plumbing experience, welding experience, working with metal.”

“Those are skills that, yes, we see them on the residential side, but we require them on scale and with specific and unique skill sets in many cases.”

AFLW Devils player and second-year plumbing apprentice Halle Whitehead is thrilled about the “unbelievable” prospect of working on the stadium and potentially playing in it.

“There’s not many times you get to say ‘Oh I built that!’ but then you go and play on it as well,” she said.

Tasmania’s current and future apprentices are excited to work on the Macquarie Point Stadium build. Halle Whitehead and Ben Shea. Image / Pulse

“And not just for me, but there’s a lot of other young apprentices that are within the Devils program that would also be able to get the chance to say that.”

Third-year carpentry apprentice Ben Shea said he knows “countless guys” who have fled Tasmania in search of ongoing work.

“Especially on the bigger commercial side of things,” he said. “It’s not only about getting young apprentices in but it’s keeping the apprentices that do finish.”

“I know a lot of good workers that have left the state purely because there isn’t the money, there isn’t the opportunity and there isn’t a future down here in terms of building or if there is, there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs.”

Master Builders Tasmania CEO David Clerk, apprentices Halle Whitehead and Ben Shea with Property Council Tasmania CEO Rebecca Ellston at Macquarie Point. Image / Pulse

Shea believes the stadium will kick off further development and growth in the state.

“I’m very excited for not only a footy team but obviously for more commercial work,” he said.

“Working on something that will be a focal point of Hobart and something that, as all builders do, you can walk past with your kids in 20 years and say, ‘I helped build that’, sort of thing … I’m sure that’s what most tradesmen want to do.”

“It definitely looks like a job and a half but at the same time we need more than a job and a half down here.”

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