Last week I had an apprentice in to discuss how to go about becoming a licensed builder. As a manager at FCTA, which is a Registered Training Organisation, I get questions like this a lot, because basically, it’s unnecessarily complicated to get information!
Each state handles the issuing of builders licences separately, with their own rules and regulations. As a result there are differences state by state, and no one website to visit. Instead each state has its own website and application procedure. In South Australia, it’s the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs http://www.ocba.sa.gov.au. To mix things up a bit more, from July 2012, until sometime in 2013 a national system of licensing will be rolled out and the system for applying will change again.
Regardless of the complexity, it’s a step well worth taking! Fully qualified and licensed bricklayers can expect to earn more than they were as an apprentice and even have the ability to become their own boss. The process is the simplest for people who have finished their apprenticeship.
>The requirement in SA is that two additional units are completed, one in small business finance, the other in business and legal requirements. These units cover off issues such as how to set up your business finances and what legal issues you need to be aware of. Once that is done, it’s a matter of filling in the paperwork, supplying copies of your apprenticeship papers and proof of completion of the two additional units to the South Australian Office of Consumer and Business Affairs. This department is in the process of developing an online application process, so keep checking back at http://ocba.sa.gov.au/licensing/olap.html
At this point, eyes start to glaze over and the idea of working as a subcontractor and being paid by ABN seems like a better option. While many people in the industry will tell you this is a good option, you need to be aware that if the majority of your income shows as being paid by the same employer this way, there will be issues. Generally, a worker is an employee and not a contractor if:
- You are paid for the time you work, as opposed to being paid for results
- You receive paid leave
- You are NOT responsible for providing the majority of materials or equipment to do a job and
- Your work hours are set by an award or agreement.
The implications of being paid under an ABN when you are working as employee can include, not having workcover support if you are injured at work, not having your superannuation contributions paid and for the employer, fines of up to $33,000 if they try to claim falsely they you are a contractor.
On top of this, employers can be made to pay superannuation and other benefits previously not paid under the shame contractor set up. For information on becoming a builder in other states you will need to contact your local licensing authority, training organisation, MBA or HIA.
A little work now to get your builders license will save some major headaches later on!
Trisch Baff, Marketing & Project Manager,
FCTA – Building Careers
We are getting feedback from industry on the benefits of training off the job.
We have seen a more flexible approach to training in recent years with a better blend of on-site and off-site training and assessment. This has been welcomed as skills gained in a building and construction environment can be recognised by assessors on-site and therefore reduce the time an apprentice spends off the job.
We have also seen that attendance at an off-site training facility provides other valuable aspects of training. Apprentices have access to a number of skilled and qualified bricklayer trainers. They also benefit from learning in a team and can relate to other apprentices in their year level or higher.
Off-site training also has the advantage of protection from the weather so there are never disruptions or delays to the training. In many cases there is also flexibility in providing training for apprentices during inclement weather.
Training facilities at TAFE or other Registered Training Organisations also provide extensive equipment, floor space and a range of concrete masonry and clay products to improve skills on more complex projects required as part of decorative face brickwork. If you’re not familiar with the names and locations of TAFE’s and RTO’s, check Locations in Your State Directory here at the website.
In many training centres, state of the art class rooms make it easier for apprentices to gain the necessary knowledge on bricklaying. This is the best learning environment for the theory content of the course. To compliment this, some RTO’s now also offer online training and assessment systems.
Employers appreciate that off-site training shares the load of training their apprentices, giving them more productive time on the job, a more well-grounded apprentice and therefore, financially a better outcome than achieved using onsite assessment.
If you have a query on this or other aspects of how an apprenticeship in bricklaying works, reply to this blog by clicking ‘Comment’ just under the title of this blog. Cheers.
General Manager, ABBTF
16 March 2012