Tasmanian Brad Long is just 19 but in his short career he has already achieved his Bricklaying Apprenticeship, succeeded in running his own bricklaying business and in the last two years has also run the ‘Step out in Bricks’ program for the Education Department at Brooks and Winneleah High Schools. With the current downturn in the building game he’s now commenced another apprenticeship, this time outside the building industry (in auto glazing), to further extend his armoury of skills. Brads got the attitude that though he loves bricklaying, he wants to build a flexible future that allows him to take advantage of the prevailing market conditions and have another set of skills he can use when housing starts are in the doldrums. He sees the future including travelling to other parts of Australia using his bricklaying qualification when things improve.
Brad’s big break in getting a bricklaying apprenticeship in Tasmania came when he was able to include his own experience as a student in the Step Out Program on the resume for his future employer, who then took him on as an apprentice. He was able to demonstrate interest and knowledge that other candidates didn’t have. He started his apprenticeship a week after his sixteenth birthday and was confident about his choice of apprenticeship because of the Step Out program. He knew he was suited to bricklaying and has gone on to enjoy the work, the outdoors and the pride in accomplishing good results and in being able to see the permanence of what you create.
The other lucky break in his short career to date came when a mate had to withdraw unexpectedly from running the Step Out program at selected schools, allowing him to fill the gap. Not only has this provided a new work experience but it’s been a fantastic opportunity to share his own pathway with a group of students going through exactly what he did, just three years prior! Brad describes it as a ‘proud moment’ when you can relate to students your own recent history, beginning in the same Step Out program.
It’s not hard to see he’s a good operator with lots of drive and optimism about his long term bricklaying future. However Brad also gives credit to his family for their support, his old boss for contacts, his friends in the industry and other bricklayers for advice. When starting his own business, he was able to lean on their experience and then apply his own judgement. Utilising the quality tools he’d acquired through the apprenticeship incentives was also a help in getting started. Good luck Brad, we’ll see you back in the industry on the upturn!
Geoff Noble. General Manager, ABBTF