Each year Become-a-Bricklayer hosts a great national competition, requiring only an entrant’s details to have a chance at a big prize.
Its primary purpose is to get the attention of students (to consider bricklaying as a career) visiting Careers Expos and participating in ‘try a trade’ type activities. However, everyone’s eligible to enter and this year it’s a prize that can’t help but appeal, no matter what age you are. (When we say everyone can enter, that unfortunately doesn’t include staff and partners of ABBTF, the promoter. Bad luck guys. .
This year’s fantastic prize is a ‘Winner Takes All’ $1000 to spend on tickets to any event publicised by Ticketek after the competition is drawn – such as sporting events and music concerts. .
You have the freedom to choose to spend it all at once on a massive party to shout your mates seats to something very big, or you can choose to spread the win over a number of events, shared with your best mate, partner or family..
The odds of winning are pretty good compared to most competitions you’ll see, because we focus our promotion about the competition at Expos, schools and at this website rather than to the mass-market. So be in it and enter on line HERE.
The competition runs from March to early December, with the prize draw made in December – what a Christmas present! Ticketek start to announce next year’s events in the second half of this year, so you’ve got plenty of time to get organised!.
Competition entries need to include an email address. Become a Bricklayer (ABBTF – Australian Brick & Blocklaying Training Foundation) is likely to email information relevant to your future career opportunities, as a result of receiving your email details, but you have the opportunity to unsubscribe should you wish. .
So, enter now, and good luck!.
General Manager - ABBTF
ABBTF has released the Operating Results for the year to 30 June 2012.
The year was highlighted by the 1,923 apprentices who were supported by Brickstart subsidies paid to their employers.
ABBTF also added a Brickstart bonus during the year to encourage apprentice sign-ups and improve retention in a difficult market.
Revenue was down due to the 25% reduction in the Training Levy on brick and block sales and matching contributions from manufacturers.
Lower building activity and brick sales also added to the revenue reduction. This contribution from industry is a valuable investment to ensure there is a skilled bricklaying workforce in future years.
There is now a greater awareness of ABBTF and its role in the building and construction industry amongst all audience groups but especially employers, apprentices and students, as a result of this website and the Aussie Bricklayer e-newsletters .
There is a growing database with schools and students who receive our online marketing and career path promotions. ABBTF has also developed a stronger relationship with bricklayers and apprentices and improved their partnerships with training and employment bodies.
Financial results and operating highlights are listed on our ABBTF website.
Geoff Noble, General Manager, 17 September 2012
As the dust settles on another great WorldSkills competition, I would like to take a moment to reflect on some of the highlights that contributed to the excitement. The day before the event the group of competitors and judges came together for a familiarisation period where competitors could test the products they would be using, arrange their areas and tools for the comp and they also received the full project plans for the first time. I have never seen such a focused bunch of competitors and I am sure many were daunted by the challenges contained in the project design. That evening, the bricklaying fraternity came together at a function arranged by ABBTF and it was a great way to psych everyone up even further for what was ahead!
The next day the competition commenced at 8am and although there were plenty of nerves in the arena, many were glad to get started and do what they do best. The race was on and it was so interesting to see how every single competitor constructed the first project in a unique order. Clearly each of the competitors had come with a game plan of how to tackle the very technical first project. In the middle stages of Day 1 the speed test was conducted and once again it was a spectacle to behold with a number of competitors able to construct a pier as high as they could reach in the 20 minute time limit. Competitors then resumed work on their main competition projects while the judges determined who would win the ABBTF “Gun Trowel” award. It was so close between the top two competitors that the judging had to be triple-checked to confirm the rank. Eventually Matthew Cheso from Adelaide was determined the winner, with Matthew Barratt from Tasmania a close runner up.
As the competition progressed the pressure grew. The competitors knew that they had to really motor if they were going to finish. When the comp time ended at lunchtime on Saturday, many had pushed themselves to the limit to complete and the judges could see that the work produced was of a very high standard.
When the judging had been completed, medals were presented at a prestigious ceremony at the Capitol Theatre on the Sunday evening. Todd Richards from Central Queensland was announced as the gold medallist, with Alan Ramsden winning Silver and Matthew Barratt winning Bronze. Sincere congratulations to the medallists but also to all the competitors. There were so many great stories to come out of the event, but it was the performance under pressure from each competitor that was a true highlight. Even when a few of the competitors had realised they were out of medal contention, they still did their best til the end.
Our thanks go to the outstanding team of judges and to our major sponsor ABBTF. They continually advocate skills excellence through support of the competitions and all the young bricklayers who engage in WorldSkills events.
Troy Everett – WorldSkills National Chief Judge and International Chief Expert for Bricklaying
A mighty battle was fought for the National title this weekend in Sydney with the victorious Gold Medal winner Todd Richards from Mackay Qld, never having once laid pressed clay bricks used for the National competition. North of Rockhampton, about 90% of masonry construction is in concrete block and the remainder in wire cut clay bricks, rather than the full pressed brick.
Silver Medallist in the competition was young Alan Ramsden, just turning 18 years, from Perth, WA - suggesting many more successes in this competition may well come in the future. Matthew Barratt, 22 years, from Hobart in Tasmania won the Bronze Medal, continuing a family tradition of great competition performers and cementing a great WorldSkills event as the runner up in the Gun Trowel. We hope to report on all three winners soon to hear their impressions on the event in a future blog.
From the first brick laid to the final call of ‘tools down’ all 13 apprentices demonstrated why they are the best from around Australia. Students and trainers had spent endless hours over the past few months preparing for the event. Amazingly all the apprentices demonstrated a different style and approach to constructing the projects. This alone made it a really interesting spectator event.
As Troy Everett predicted at the outset, the project was challenging and it was clear that the young apprentices were feeling the pressure of competition and the scrutiny from Judges and onlookers. However, well-honed skills were on show - they all looked like ‘naturals’ as they buttered, placed and tapped bricks into place with the precision and efficiency of a craftsman.
At the Wednesday night ABBTF industry event preceding WorldSkills it was fantastic to see the who’s who of the industry. For, example, for the first time in one room together we were honoured to have the last three International WorldSkills Bricklaying competitors in Tim Hambly (2007), Nigel Croke (2009) and Lester Tibbles (2011). For the full Honour Roll click here. It was an excellent night of re-connecting with old mates, making new contacts and reflecting on the achievements and challenges facing our industry.
Never missing an opportunity to promote the trade to new prospects, ABBTF conducted a Try-a-Trade near the bricklaying competition area over the three days of the competition. It was a great success with school students and others having the opportunity to lay a brick with past International WorldSkills Bronze winner Nigel Croke.
Geoff Noble, General Manager, ABBTF
With the very cold weather we’ve all been experiencing lately, employers and apprentices will appreciate the warm ABBTF beanies being distributed in each state as part of ABBTF’s Subsidy Support program. As well as being very functional, the branded Beanie works to keep the role of ABBTF in the minds of the industry. ABBTF co-ordinates funding and other support for both bricklayers and their apprentices nationally and is always only a phone call away, for any queries on 1300 30 44 77 or to speak with your State Manager check out the local contact details. This website and ABBTF’s employer website are packed with useful background and up to the minute information on your industry.
Geoff Noble, General Manager, ABBTF
If you wish brickwork and in particular face brickwork to remain a major part of the construction industry in the future, you need to take the responsibility for it. Ignoring your responsibility for quality blending puts the future of bricks at risk of being rendered useless!
Don’t judge a book by its cover they say, but most of us do! Drive past a house with bad face brickwork and we judge the whole house by the poor face work. In the history of masonry and brickwork, while strength of a construction was of paramount importance, beauty ran a close second. Masons and bricklayers in the past were held in high regard in their communities and societies due to the quality and feature work of the many hundreds of year old commercial buildings, churches and castles still standing throughout the world to this day. However, most clients today view the aesthetics of good brickwork as their main focus, which put the pressure squarely on you!
It’s your responsibility as bricklayer to listen to manufacturers and suppliers’ advice and information on blending of brick into a face wall to ensure good looking brickwork. They provide quality materials but the final standard of the workmanship requires you to deliver a professional quality job to the owner and client - not just working to a mediocre standard, based on a rate of pay at the time! You are building for the OWNER not the builder.
Pride and quality in your work should be your main driver - blending the bricks in the wall is part of your job responsibility as a true master craftsman. You don’t just lay bricks for a living and you can’t blame someone else if you don’t listen to the blending advice provided by manufacturers.
Imagine you were building the construction you’re working on now, for your own home or business and ask yourself ‘Would I accept the quality of this work being produced?’ When buying items for yourself, big or small, cheap or expensive, you always expect perfection! So why should you not afford your clients and owner the same expectation?
Apprenticeships and formal training play a very important role in developing a quality bricklayer. I am a qualified Bricklayer and have endeavored to follow the principle of setting and working to a high standard of quality workmanship throughout my career and I recommend the same approach to you.
‘Blending in’ will help keep the trade and brickwork alive in the future. Pride People! PRIDE!
Ian Fitzgerald, ABBTF WA Field Officer
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.
Lindsay Partridge, Father of Australia’s bricklaying skills training scheme recognised in Queens Birthday Honours ListPosted by: Geoff Noble | Comment (0)
Lindsay Partridge has been named a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours list this week, for his visionary work in securing the future of this industry through the ongoing training of a skilled workforce in bricklaying. His work culminated in the establishment of the Australian Brick & Blocklaying Training Foundation (ABBTF) which he continues to actively guide as Chairman of the Board of Directors. This national organisation has, since 2006, made possible the training of up to 2500 apprentices in Australia each year.
Lindsay Partridge is a veteran of the industry and is Managing Director of the largest brick making Company in Australia - Brickworks Ltd (Austral Bricks and its many sub-brands). His early recognition that the residential and commercial brick building industry would decline without the continuing flow of qualified bricklaying tradespeople entering the trade, while appreciated in the industry, now has wider recognition with this announcement.
When asked about the award, Lindsay Partridge was quick to recognise the team effort involved in maintaining the focus over the past thirty years and the successful outcomes since the establishment of the ABBTF in more recent times.
Geoff Noble, General Manager of the ABBTF since its inception as a national organisation in 2006, was delighted to learn of the Award. “This Award for Lindsay recognises his great achievements in advancing the bricklaying trade. I know he would agree that this Award also recognizes the efforts of the wider industry: the ABBTF team, the programs of TAFE’s and Group Training Organisations, the brick manufacturers, the builders and the bricklayers who employer and train apprentices on the job, year in, year out. “
Geoff Noble, General Manager ABBTF.
Concerns have emerged that recent falls in Apprenticeship commencements across Australia will lead to a shortage of qualified bricklayers, in three to four years. The Industry has responded quickly with a “Brickstart Bonus’ incentive to encourage bricklayers to put on bricklaying apprentices in the immediate future. $1000 is being offered to each employer who takes on a new apprentice between 2 January and 30 April this year to help encourage sign-ups. So far, interest has been very encouraging with many enquiries on the offer.
Above: “Michael D’Agostino from ABBTF on site making bricklayers aware of the new Brickstart Bonus.”
Bricklaying Apprenticeship commencements fell dramatically in the last 12 months - by more than 30%, on average. The reason for the drop has been the reduced level of building activity and the consequential discouragement amongst bricklaying contractors about ongoing work opportunities. However, there is a very concerning direct relationship between apprenticeship starts and the supply of qualified bricklayers 3 to 4 years out. The issue is heightened in the bricklaying industry where even when housing demand is steady, qualified bricklayers are often in under supply. In three or four years’ time construction activity is likely to be very busy, creating a skill shortage at the top of the cycle unless new apprenticeships increase significantly.
The payment will be made to employers after the completion of the apprentice’s first year. The highest attrition rate from all apprenticeships occurs in the first year of training and making the payment at this time encourages the employer to do all he can to ensure his apprentice continues into his or her second year. Bricklayers already receive other generous subsidies to encourage them to train apprentices: these are the current ABBTF subsidy of $4,000 ($3,000 in South Australia), the Federal Government’s $4,000 and incentives from State based construction industry training funds. Further information on all incentives can be found at this website and the ABBTF website.
ABBTF’s Brickstart Bonus is a great additional initiative but only goes part of the way to encourage new apprentice sign-ups. Governments need to do more to assist, such as matching our offer. Lower interest rates to encourage better housing starts would also give the industry the confidence to improve its training commitments.
Geoff Noble, General Manager, ABBTF