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
It’s often said that excellence in hand-eye co-ordination makes a good bricklayer and a good sportsman and there’s no better example of this than Ben Hifenhaus!
Contributing in no small part to the Indian 3rd test loss in Perth last week, was the tenacious performance of in-form bowler Ben Hilfenhaus (Hilfy or Gentle Ben to his mates).
With shoulders the size of a small family car and accuracy of a scud missile, his form as a right hand fast-medium bowler has proved devastating this summer.
From all reports Ben is a non egotistical and uncomplicated sportsman, something of a rarity these days in sport at this level. Ben epitomises the type of bowler any cricket captain would yearn for with his head down arse up attitude!
What few people know however is that prior to entering the cricketing world stage he was a humble bricklayer, honing his trade in Ulverstone Tasmania.
These days instead of building walls he is smashing through the “Indian Wall”, taking 4 for 43 in 18 overs in the 1st innings and 4 for 54 in 18 overs in the second in the Perth test.
Bouncing back from an injury that almost finished his career last year, this gutsy Aussie bowler should be around long enough to help win back the ashes next year.
I cannot help thinking that his time as a bricklayer not only helped to condition Ben physically but also helped him to push through the pain barrier working in the hot Australian sun. Apparently he is a tidy golfer as well boasting an eight handicap!
Ben has a real ‘can-do’ attitude that we see in bricklayers all over the country. It’s great to see another past bricklayer do so well in Aussie sport!
WA State Manager, ABBTF