South Australia to kick tradie recruitment goals with AFL partnership

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
3 Min Read

The South Australian Government aims to recruit local footy players into trades as part of a bid to tackle the state’s skills crisis.

The Department for Education, Training and Skills will line up alongside Master Builders South Australia and the Adelaide Footy League to make a play for more construction industry apprentices.

The partnership will see a further $225,000 in funding kicked into the recruitment game as part of Master Builders’ Born to Build program and offer a range of incentives to footy players interested in learning a trade at TAFE.

The initiative will provide a needed boost to the construction industry workers, who already make up 8.5 per cent of the state’s workforce.

Born to Build gives Adelaide’s amateur footy stars a chance to jump at free white card training courses, on-site try-a-trade programs, work experience opportunities and mentorship by Master Builders’ industry ambassadors.

Meanwhile, female footy players will be able to access the HIVIZ Women Building SA program to encourage more girls to swap their guernseys for high-vis vests.

Master Builders SA Chief Executive Officer Will Frogley said the program will pair up with 69 local clubs to ensure footy fanatics are kicking goals both on and off the field.

“We need 15,000 more tradies than we have now by 2027 to build the critical infrastructure the state needs,” he said.

“We think lots of those future builders, brickies and carpenters are already running around our suburban ovals in the Adelaide Footy League.”

Adelaide Footy League’s Chief Executive Officer John Kernahan said the program was the perfect incentive to swap studded boots for ones with steel caps.

“If ever there was an opportunity for our clubs and the league in general to play a role in the futures of young women and men and the careers they pursue it is through this,” he said.

“The Adelaide Footy League engages with an age demographic that fits perfectly with helping fill a gap in this space.”

Minister for Education, Training and Skills Blair Boyer said The AFL are not the only ones looking to identify the next generation of young industry stars, as South Australia aims to deliver many large-scale infrastructure projects over the next decade.
“We need thousands of new apprentices to meet the demands of South Australia’s future opportunities and help build sustained growth of our thriving economy,” he said.

“…working together to attract, train and mentor our young people to pursue jobs in the construction industry is a perfect fit.”

“We need to be planning for the future now so that we are addressing skills shortages with a high-quality, trained workforce.”

For more information on the program, visit the Born To Build website.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.