Thanks to Todd Richards great win on the national stage, at the 2012 National Bricklaying WorldSkills event in Sydney, we’ve seen a strong increase in apprentices throughout Queensland keen to compete for their shot at glory.
The Regionals kick-off this week, Tues 7 May. Competitions are open to the general public, so come along on the day from 9 to 4 and have a look at the cream of the industry coming through.
The Rockhampton/Central Qld Regional Bricklaying competition will be first, on Tuesday 7 May at Rockhampton TAFE, Canning Street Rockhampton with an industry BBQ on the night before around 5:30 pm.
This is the region in which Todd won his finals, to go on to win the National Bricklayer title.
Next cab off the rank is the southern region. On Friday, 10 May at Skills Tech Australia (STA)TAFE Acacia Ridge Campus, ABBTF and WorldSkills will be conducting the Brisbane/South East Qld Regional WorldSkills Final in Bricklaying at STA’s 247 Bradman Street, Acacia Ridge.
This will be the biggest Regional competition ever held in Brisbane with 10-14 bricklaying competitors planned to start, rivalling to represent this regional at 2014’s National title.
Qld has never had so many apprentice bricklayers striving for their opportunity to go to the nationals. It was only a few years ago we would struggle to get 6-8 apprentices throughout the State to compete and now we have 4 Regions putting up their hands to hold finals this year.
This is further proof that the relationship between ABBTF, TAFE’s, RTO’s and Manufacturers continues to reap rewards for our industry in Qld
The remaining Queensland Regions to hold competitions later this year are Mackay/North Qld on 23 July with industry night on Monday 22 July, and Bundaberg/Wide Bay on 7 August at Wide Bay TAFE Walker St Bundaberg.
ABBTF is a sponsor of all Regional WorldSkills events as part of its challenge on behalf of all stakeholders in Bricklaying, to reduce the skills shortage. It aims to provide employers with the best possible candidates to become qualified bricklayers.
State Manager Qld, ABBTF
Many young people completing the school year are thinking about their options for 2013. A number are hoping their results enable them to start University in 2013; many others are looking to get into the workforce and get paid to learn a trade.
A career to think about is in the building and construction industry and there is no better way to start than with an apprenticeship in bricklaying. A qualification in brick and blocklaying opens doors to many career choices such as starting your own business as a bricklaying contractor, a self employed builder and becoming a project manager or a construction manager. These are all rewarding and worthwhile goals in life that young people should think about.
The more immediate benefits of becoming a bricklayer through an apprenticeship are working outdoors, the satisfaction of saying “I built that”, being part of a team, gaining a qualification and having the freedom to travel the country or the world where there is always work for a skilled bricklayer. At the website here, we show you just some of the ways bricklaying will provide a rewarding career as well as give you the freedom you want to enjoy life.
Young people should also be aware that with the Government’s Kickstart Initiative from December 2012 to February 2013, many good bricklayers will be looking to start an apprentice over these summer months.
Something to think about!
General Manager, ABBTF
Last month there was a bricklaying competition held in Sao Paulo, Brazil called the WorldSkills Americas competition to which I was fortunate in obtaining an invite to, because of my role as Chief Expert with the international WorldSkills competitions.
It was held at the same time as the Brazil national WorldSkills competition, so it was a very large event comparable in size to an international WorldSkills competition. Competing in the Americas was Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Bolivia.
It was only the second time this competition has been held and there has been good growth in participation. There were many teachers present and it was a good chance to look at their laying methods and methods of instruction.
The most striking aspect of their training is how narrow but deep they go into the training. For instance the bricklaying students learn a lot about the sciences such as thermal ceramics and a lot of theoretically based learning. This is in contrast to many other countries (such as Australia) where apprentices have a broader skill base more focussed on what they can do with the trowel in hand, adding worth to their employability.
A striking difference in their techniques was that they build walls but do not maintain full joints, so they spent just as much time filling the joints as they do laying the bricks. Apart from the messiness associated with filling the joints, it is also structurally weaker to construct brickwork this way.
In some countries, these methods are employed due to the substandard materials, particularly mortars, but in Brazil the mortar was very good so I spent a fair bit of time with the teachers and students there to share a few tricks in maintaining full joints and hopefully positively affecting their efficiencies. All the teachers and students I met there were outstanding people and it was quite a humbling experience to hopefully provide some input and different methods that will assist them in their training and eventually affect the bricklaying industry in their country. I also learned a lot from what they showed me as well.
Bricklaying Chief Category Expert, WorldSkills; A/Head Teacher – Civil Engineering, Surveying and Mapping, TAFE NSW – Illawarra Institute, Wollongong Campus
As the year draws to a close, many young people around the country are completing their apprenticeship training in bricklaying.
They have worked hard to achieve a valuable qualification and this milestone will be recognition of the knowledge and skills in bricklaying which will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
ABBTF congratulates all apprentices who completed their training during 2012.
This Certificate III qualification in bricklaying will open many doors to a range of careers in the construction industry. Many others before this 2012 graduating class have gone on to successful careers as contractors running a business, or as builders, project managers or construction managers.
We see a number of qualified bricklayers travelling around Australia or overseas, or moving out of the industry for a short time until building activity returns to former levels. Whatever they choose to do they will always have the qualification in bricklaying that will provide them with the freedom to choose their future.
We have also seen bricklayers who qualified over recent years starting their own gang and putting on apprentices to build a young, energetic and productive team.
By signing on a new apprentice they receive ABBTF financial support which was also provided to their employer when they were doing their apprenticeship. We believe ABBTF has played an important role in supporting all apprentices completing their training and achieving a qualification in bricklaying.
ABBTF General Manager
With the end of the school year and many students making final decisions to either stay on at school or leave to take on a trade, it’s heartening to know that the incentives for employers to apprentice you were never better.
Whether you’re considering starting a full time bricklaying apprenticeship now or taking an alternative path to a bricklaying career, it will involve you working for an employer or host for at least a part of each year in order to undertake your onsite training as part of the apprenticeship.
Economically an employer needs to see a financial benefit in employing and training an apprentice. No apprentice is expected to be adding value to the business early on and quickly you will start to be productive for the business depends on how quickly you learn, the available work and the size of the team. So putting on an apprentice is a carefully planned financial decision for an employer. There’s a great blog on Bricklayer Productivity, you might find interesting.
However, the good news is that the Government recently announced for a limited time, a boost in funding support for employers of new apprentices and mature age apprentices. This is because the downturn in the economy this year meant fewer than normal apprentices were trained in many trades. This is not good for the building industry because when the cycle turns upwards again, as it will, it is important that there is a good supply of skilled young tradespeople ready to meet the demands of the housing and commercial building industry.
Therefore, it was announced that an additional $3,350 over and above existing Subsidies will be paid to employers in two instalments for small and medium sized businesses where they employ a new apprentice between December 2012 and February 2013.
So, if you’re talking to a potential future employer, remind him of this new reason to take you on. Remember too that the ABBTF will help you locate an employer if you’re ready to start your bricklaying apprenticeship and do not have contacts. Just give us a call on 1300 66 44 96.
General Manager, ABBTF
‘Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.’ How true that is. Reflections on WorldSkills.
Working in the building industry we have definitely been facing tough times - an issue since the GFC hit three years ago. However as we know construction occurs in cycles, we have our booms and we have our lows. Neither lasts forever... It's a revolving cycle. It's how we act in the lows to ensure we last for the booms. Whilst we are in the low cycle at present throughout the industry we have to be grateful to the contractors, trainers and builders who are focussing on retaining and training our apprentices of tomorrow.
I recently caught up with acquaintances and met new people at the ABBTF Industry Event at Olympic Park Sydney on the eve of the National WorldSkills 2012 competition at the end of August. Young competitors from all over Australia had descended on Sydney to showcase their skills in their given trade. This year there were 13 regional bricklaying winners all competing for the national title and to represent Australia in Germany at the international WorldSkills event.
I was lucky enough to meet a couple of competitors at the ABBTF event and three past National winners - Lester Tibbles, Nigel Croke and Tim Hambly. These three went on to compete in the International WorldSkills competition and their stories are truly inspiring and proof that the skills you learn in bricklaying can certainly take you anywhere in the world. I spoke with the parents of competitor Matthew Barratt from Tasmania - Matthew is the second son to compete in the competition and their third son has his sights set on the next competition! It's great to hear three sons following in dad's footsteps and continuing the bricklaying tradition.
Unfortunately I could not stay to watch the competition due to other commitments but I have heard that it was once again a great success. I congratulate all competitors for a job well done and special congratulations to the winners Gold – Todd Richards QLD; Silver – Alan Ramsden WA; Bronze – Matthew Barratt TAS.
All should be proud of their efforts. I know I am proud of them.
There were all smiles at the Bricklaying exhibit area of the Kwinana Jobs and Skills Expo in WA on Wednesday this week when the Prime Minister and a large contingent dropped by for a chat and to try laying bricks. Julia Gillard shook hands and took some bricklaying advice from young pre-apprentice, Wayde Brown, one of three pre-apprentices from Challenger TAFE who were assigned to work at the exhibition for the day and create a project for display.
Craig Butler, Program Manager for Construction at Challenger has responsibility for Bricklaying, as well as other roles in Plastering and Carpentry. He said “the Expo provides the young pre-apprentices with a great opportunity to get some exposure to dealing with the public and to test their communication skills, but we never thought it would be with the Prime Minister”. This group is only four weeks into its twenty week bricklaying pre-apprenticeship course designed to provide life skills and some basics like mortar mixing.
The students will spend three weeks with an employer as part of the course training, after which they’ll be encouraged to seek out their own employer for a bricklaying apprenticeship. ABBTF provided promotional materials on choosing bricklaying as a trade. This is one of the many events in WA where ABBTF promote bricklaying and the career opportunities that come from a qualification in the trade.
The Jobs and Skills Expos are designed to create a ‘jobs and skills marketplace’, bringing together employment services providers and training organisations, as well as Government and other agencies with employers and job seekers, all under one roof, all on one day.
Dean Pearson, ABBTF WA Manager
Last weekend’s Skills West Expo in WA was fortunate to have as its ambassador Renae Wauhop popular runner-up on the first season of Channel 7′s The Amazing Race Australia. No doubt she was one reason for the massive success with up to 17,000 visitors over the three days from Friday, visiting 130 exhibits across three pavilions.
ABBTF participated in the event promoting Bricklaying as a career choice providing future freedom and growth and Renae wasn’t shy at trying her hand with the trowel at the ABBTF stand. Renae has had a go at many trades already in her 24 years, including basic mechanics, plus she holds retail and wholesale certificates and has done on the job training as a labourer with a roof tiling company. Renae has an incredibly busy life and career which includes modelling, television presenting and weekly radio hosting on 92.9FM, managing Hurt Locker in Claremont’s gym and instructing in Box Fit boxing classes. Oh yes, and there’s also boyfriend West Coast Eagles footballer Mark Nikoski to catch up with in between time. Did we mention the occasional arm wrestling too!
At the Expo Renae encouraged everyone to set goals for themselves - she certainly doesn’t seem to struggle with this. Trade expos are a great place to start setting goals and with the wealth of information on training colleges, employers, industries and Government initiatives currently in Western Australia this was a top Expo.
The support that ABBTF’s Bricklaying exhibition received from local industry stakeholders was overwhelming as we also ran a WorldSkills pre competition event. The actual National WorldSkills event, where Australia’s top Apprentice Bricklayer will be judged from the 14 Regional Award winners, takes place over four days in Sydney from Thursday August 30th. WA has three apprentice contenders for the National WorldSkills award including Samuel Long, Rhyse Moroney and Alan Ramsden. Best wishes guys, we know you’ll give your all.
Dean Pearson, ABBTF WA Manager
There have been some misconceptions and assumptions made in relation to this topic in the last 12 months. As such I wanted to write this blog to clear up the issue and hopefully put our stakeholders at ease.
Back in 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to introduce a national licensing system with the principal goal of reforming existing regulatory requirements and process’s.
Legislation was introduced to form a National Occupational Licensing Authority (NOLA), whereby they could maintain and administer a public register of all trade licensees. This system has been created as an important tool for clients and builders when selecting licensed tradesman to undertake work.
National Licensing reform is also expected to improve occupational health and safety conditions, boost labour availability and labour mobility given that a licensed tradesman will be able to move from state to state. In implementing this system, NOLA is consulting with industry to seek advice and feedback relating to industry standards, practices and expectations.
Consultation with industry is ongoing in relation to the impact of trade licence reform, legislation framework and regulation. IAC’s or Interim Advisory Committees have been formed for the first round of national licences which are expected to be introduced by 2013. These include:
• Electrical Occupations
• Plumbing and Gas Fitting
• Property Occupations
• Refrigeration & Air Conditioning.
These groups have since come together to develop elements of the licensing policy which included licence categories and types, scope of work, skilled and non skilled eligibility criteria and licensing characteristics including exemptions and restrictions.
Further to this, other building related trade licensing (including bricklaying) discussions have been suspended until such time that the above trade areas have been implemented. Discussions and consultation is not expected to resume until at least May 2014.
It must be said however that even if the current COAG agenda was implemented in its entirety, WA would be under no obligation to licence trades not currently covered! In the mean time however, ABBTF in WA will continue to promote the value of trade qualifications. This is why ABBTF provides a $400 tool voucher for any bricklayer in WA who obtains his trade qualification through recognition of prior learning (RPL) or trade skill recognition (TSR) through a quality training provider.
Some builders are now encouraging their trades to gain their qualifications through this system, especially those who have been working in the industry for some time and currently or previously have hosted or employed apprentices. This makes sense given that builders need to build the best product that they can and demonstrate in the process that they are using quality trades.
WA Manager, ABBTF
If you’ve lost interest in school or just can’t seem to achieve for some reason and are considering leaving school, you might want to consider pre-apprenticeship training. It’s a way to try out the trades for a time, before you make a full commitment to an apprenticeship. Yes it comes at a cost, but with the incentives that are often provided, depending on your age, the State Government benefits and the organisation offering the pre-apprenticeship, it is good value. You’ll get the benefit of a range of skilled learning, usually four or five days a week, get some trade experience, perhaps ‘on the trowel’ in a bricklaying team, and all up receive very good value for your investment of the three to four months or so on the course. No matter where you’re located there are pre-apprentice courses offered. ABBTF can help you identify where yours are.
Employers generally like to take on apprentices who have done a pre-apprenticeship course because they come with some basic skills and with eyes more open to the trade. You get exposure to builders, bricklayers and group training organisations so you’re better placed to find the right employer for you and to know many more than if you hadn’t done this pre-entry training. Some of the subjects are transferrable to other pre-entry trade courses too, in case you decide to try another before taking on an apprenticeship.
One pre-apprenticeship course just starting in WA is exclusively for Bricklaying (whereas often they cover a number of trades in one course). It starts August 6 at Polytechnic West’s Thornlie campus and runs for 18 weeks and includes three weeks work experience on the job. It costs $825 if you’re under 17 or have a Health Card, and on completion there’s a $250 cash scholarship awarded from the CTF plus there’s a $250 tool voucher ABBTF, if you go on to start your apprenticeship. Full details are available from Polytechnic West and there’s a Downloadable Word Doc Here for applicants to return. Call or email Paul Wharmby or Stan Bowie on 9267 7661.