Monthly Archives: August 2016


Overdue but Appreciated: Apprentice Training Support Rise

Before July 1 this year, a NSW apprentice needing to travel more than 120 km a day for training received a $28 p/night accommodation subsidy and a 12c p/km fuel subsidy. This was the prospect facing any young country-based aspiring apprentice unable to access training inside 120km of his or her home.

Well, I’m delighted to be blogging the recent decision of the NSW Department of Industry to double the accommodation allowance – last revised 9 years ago – and the decision to nearly triple the fuel allowance, which hadn’t changed in 15 years! NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant said this would particularly benefit regional NSW where trainees and apprentices face long travel distances

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An Impressive Attitude and Attendance Rate Gets Our Vote

ABBTF annually receives thousands of expressions of interest and applications to start a bricklaying apprenticeship. The variety of people and range of abilities is immense. However, we find that the two qualities that stand out with successful candidates are a good attitude and the attendance rate.

Your Attitude speaks heaps about you: It’s often clear as early as in the initial phone call, or in the quality of the application, the face-to-face experience or commitment to the training to be done, or the job itself.

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Country Enthusiasm Shines through at Goulburn Bricklaying Try-out

The month of July 2016 brought the ABBTF NSW team to the town of Goulburn, population 24,000, 2.1 hours south of Sydney. The goal was set: to accomplish a Step Out Program in the period of three days with the keen and eager students at the local High School…seemed do-able!

Arriving on the Wednesday 20th, we had a great start with blue skies all materials in place and a plan to build two projects in the grounds of Goulburn High School. These are great assignments, as they give students a taste of bricklaying and they add value to the school grounds, where you thereafter will hear the sounds of ‘I built that!”

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Island Block now has the Island State Covered

Great to hear this week that Tasmanian owned Island Block & Paving has expanded its operations to open a southern Tasmanian branch at Glenorchy, near Hobart.

Island Block is one of Australia’s leading independent manufacturers of concrete masonry products covering a vast range of brick building and landscaping masonry, all manufactured at Breadalbane in Northern Tasmania.

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Younger Bricklaying Workforce

Ian Stoneman

The bricklaying workforce is increasing and getting younger, as shown on the Graph here. The previous Census in 2011 showed that bricklayers up to the age of 30 had grown by 1,904 or 27.7% in the past five years and 2,871 or 48.7% in the past 10 years.

This is good new for the industry as a growing number of skilled tradesmen are needed to respond to the current high level of building and construction activity on the Eastern Seaboard.

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NSW Bricklaying Industry Helps Middle Eastern Refugees Start a New Life in Australia

Key players in the bricklaying industry in NSW have recently joined forces to provide bricklayer apprenticeship training for Middle-Eastern refugees to help them start a new life in Sydney. The program is a united effort from ABBTF the bricklaying apprenticeships peak body, together with Australia’s largest brick maker Austral Bricks and Settlement Services International (SSI), a not-for-profit humanitarian organisation helping refugees resettle in Australia.

The focus of the project is ABBTF’s introductory training course in bricklaying, known as the Work Ready Program (WRP) which in this case was held at Granville TAFE in the heart of western Sydney. Importantly, by helping prospective apprentices to be ‘work-ready’ before they start the Apprenticeship, it is also helping to introduce candidates who are a good fit for bricklaying.

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