Monthly Archives: January 2016


ABBTF’s Tony Bishop in Judging Team for US Masonry Skills Challenge

We’re delighted that one of our own ABBTF team members, Qld State Manager Tony Bishop, has been appointed to judge the USA’s annual apprentice bricklaying championships on 3 February.

The US Masonry Skills Challenge is a competition run by the Masonry Contractors Association of America (MCAA) for masonry (bricklaying) apprentices in first, second and third year skill levels. The contest is a showcase for skills training in the industry, challenging winning apprentices from regional US and some foreign competitors, to determine the top masonry apprentice at each level.

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The First Delivery of 5,000 Bricks

With the recognition of Australia Day as the anniversary of the First Fleet’s arrival, 26 January 1788, comes the delivery of the first clay bricks in Australia.

Governor Arthur Phillip, a man of progressive views, envisaged durable buildings of quality. He believed that in time, like any civilised town, Sydney Cove and its environs would be built in brick.

Even before the Fleet’s departure from Portsmouth, Phillip had anticipated the adoption of brick as the key construction material. Indeed, the cargo manifest of the transport Scarborough carries a reference to 5,000 bricks.

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Aussie Entrants for ‘US Fastest Trowel on the Block’ on show this Saturday

If you’re in Brisbane tomorrow and looking to be entertained with some spectacular speed blocklaying by talented Aussie twin brothers preparing to head off for the annual MCAA, US speed test, head out to our office at Brendale this Saturday! Tony Bishop is hosting for ABBTF and it should be a great day – for details of the address and to RSVP, check here.

Two Qld guys, twins Jack and Pat Sommerfeld, who together have been representing and winning Regional WorldSkills comps since 2013, have paired-up, Jack as the blocklayer and Pat as the tenderer (labourer) for the day.

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Schools Out…Another Door Opens if you Missed a Uni Offer

Many young Australian’s will know by now if they were accepted into the University course of their choice based on their ATAR score.

Congratulations to the successful applicants, however, there is a silver lining to the perceived cloud covering the unsuccessful young people.

We have seen over many years that another door opens to create pathways to great careers for these people. An example is in construction and often the journey starts with an apprenticeship in bricklaying.

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Strong Surge in NSW Bricklaying Apprentices

New Apprentice numbers in New South Wales have increased by 48% over the past 12 months. Apprentice commencements for the year to December 2015 were 327 compared with 221 for the year to December 2014.

The 48% increase in bricklaying apprenticeship starts is well ahead of the 15.7% increase for all construction trades and 20.7% increase for carpentry apprentices.

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Winston Churchill, Britain’s Most Famous Statesman and Bricklayer

People take up bricklaying for different reasons. Research tells us that many young apprentices say the main reason is that they enjoy ‘working with their hands’. If you look a bit deeper into this, without getting too philosophical about it, I think there’s something about the enjoyment of ‘creating’ in bricks that delivers real satisfaction, akin to other crafts, which keeps people in this game all their lives.

A really interesting example of someone who had a mighty big job in politics but who sought enjoyment and pleasure in bricklaying was the British statesman Winston Churchill.

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