The unsung heroes of the building industry, plumbers ensure that each home being built is connected properly.

To keep up with construction demand around New Zealand, it’s clear that we need to have enough plumbers on tap. The latest figures show that a total of 760 additional jobs were created in the plumbing, gasfitting, and drainlaying sector in 2015. Employment in the sector grew faster than employment in the total economy (3.8% vs. 2.4%) last year.

Looking to the future, this rate of growth needs to not only be maintained, but increased. It is forecast that nearly 8,000 new people are needed in the sector by 2020 to meet future employment growth.

For the plumbing profession specifically, around 492 additional people are needed to fill jobs each year.

Fortunately, the numbers of plumbing, gasfitting, and drainlaying trainees currently learning the trade are promising. Data from The Skills Organisation show that there was a rise in the total number of trainees in this sector from 2014 to 2015.

Participation rates among Maori and Pasifika and female trainees also increased in 2015, ensuring a diverse pool of talent in the industry. Growing this diversity in the sector remains a key focus for The Skills Organisation, as it is the best way to maintain a solid pipeline of plumbers, gasfitters, and drainlayers in New Zealand.

With the government recently pledging $14.4 million to apprenticeships in the 2016 Budget, The Skills Organisation and other industry training bodies now have the extra support to further promote training in key building sectors. There may still be a lot of work to be done to meet the demand for these professionals, but the recent numbers paint a picture of an industry with a stable future.

The Skills Organisation is the industry training organisation overseeing plumbing, gasfitting, and drainlaying – along with 21 other industries – in New Zealand. Come and visit us at Auckland Build Expo 2016!