Quigley: Australia has the skills base for NBN build

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Quigley: Australia has the skills base for NBN build

NBN Co survey finds no major skills gaps yet.

NBN Co said an external survey it commissioned to look at the availability of skills for building Australia's next-generation network had not identified skills shortfalls it would describe as "showstoppers".

Chief executive Mike Quigley told journalists last week that the network builder had "identified a couple of pockets of places where there were some additional training needs, but didn't identify any showstoppers.

"We haven't seen any issues at this point in time," he said, although he acknowledged that - to an extent - it was something the company was "not going to know for certain" until it started to ramp up construction efforts.

More detailed construction plans for the next three years were expected to handed up to the Federal Government by the end of the month.

The NBN would need between 20,000 and 30,000 skilled technical and professional staff to meet its projected timelines, according to a government submission by national training company, Communications and IT Training (CITT).

The survey commissioned by NBN Co contrasted with results from industry surveys such as one by Industry and Business Skills Australia (IBSA) in May that found an additional 8,000 skilled cablers alone would be required to implement the NBN.

"Industry insiders were concerned that without proper licensing and registration there was a risk of incomplete, short term skilling to get the job done quickly," that report said.

Quigley said NBN Co was focused on safety checks of employees - its own and contractors - on NBN work sites after several hiccups were reported in Tasmania's roll-out.

He said that NBN Co was not as concerned with how large contractors managed employees as it was with whether the workers were "qualified, trained [and had] been through the safety processes."

Quigley said that NBN Co was attending construction sites to check up on the training records of individuals at work.

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