Monthly Archives: October 2015


It’s Time to Begin Celebrating the Bricklayers

I read an article out of the US this week bemoaning the fact that there’s a trade skills shortage due to the pressure put on young people in recent years to go to university after high school and train for a professional career, regardless of aptitude and interest. It sounded in many ways like a problem we have in Australia.

Sure, we know that Australia’s current skills shortage is partly due to short term increases in building activity over the past 12 months – we’ve had national residential commencements increase by more than 41% over the past three years, which has put pressure on bricklayer supply

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A Win at the Golden Trowel is a Massive Confidence Boost

For the second time in three competitions Coffs Harbour has taken out the coveted Golden Trowel Award. What’s the secret guys? Is it Paul Venn, a three-time winner who was trainer of the 2011 Coffs team of talented bricklayers Dwayne Potter and Ian Cutmore? Or is it something in the air at Coffs Harbour?

The team takes away the Golden Trowel trophy while TAFE Coffs Harbour again becomes the proud winner of the Challenge Shield.

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You’ll learn on site from the experts …

Learning from others is quite possibly the easiest way to begin picking up a new skill because someone who is already an expert has been there before you and learnt the hard way. An expert can teach you tips and tricks on how to make the job even better or how to simplify the process associated with the skill.

Undertaking a brick and blocklaying apprenticeship and in the process learning from an expert, is without doubt the best way to gain and enhance skills. You’ll get this training onsite on a day-to-day basis with your employer and his experienced team while also attending trade school at specific times of the year during your apprenticeship.

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Wollongong TAFE on Show for Golden Trowel Competition

Illawarra TAFE at Wollongong hosted the CMAA Golden Trowel Competition on October 11 – 13. A highlight of the event was the decoration in the form of oversized towels and a huge concrete masonry block. This was a great promotion along with specially made sponsors banners and large photos of the beautiful Illawarra region.

George Dragovic, Head Teacher Building and Construction was the creator of this great display setting the stage for the Golden Trowel Competition over the two days.

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Sam Spong’s Journey from Bricklaying Apprentice to International Winner

The last four years have been an exciting and rewarding period in the life of Sam Spong. From the time he first entered Regional WorldSkills in 2011 up to his 2015 WorldSkills International success bringing home Bronze for Australian bricklaying, he’s consistently applied his skills and training, practised hard and maintained a ‘will-to-win’, that’s paid off bigtime.

When he earned the right to enter the National’s in 2012, Sam was 19 and in his third year of his apprenticeship with Job Harkness of J&S Harkness. Job was Australian WorldSkills National Champion 2001 and as such was very inspirational in helping Sam aim high. See WorldSkills International Honour Roll.

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Apprentice and Trainer Teams Pit Their Brains and Skills at the Golden Trowel Competition at TAFE Illawarra

The Concrete Masonry Association of Australia (CMAA), Australia’s peak industry body for concrete masonry manufacturers, is excited to announce that the 2015 Golden Trowel Award will be held from 11 to 13 October this year at the Wollongong Campus of TAFE NSW – Illawarra Institute.

The event spreads over three days and is organised by the CMAA in cooperation with TAFE and the Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation (ABBTF). Held every second year, the Golden Trowel Award invites bricklaying apprentices from across Australia to participate in a three-day competition to recognise the skills of young talent in the brick and blocklaying trade.

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Interested in trying Bricklaying? Then please contact us on 1300 30 44 77