I’m pleased to announce that the Australian Brick & Blocklaying Training Foundation’s Annual Report for 2015-2016 has now been released and distributed to key stakeholders. The full report and the Operating Results are available online.
The report shows that apprentice numbers grew strongly during the year on the eastern seaboard, where high construction activity drove the demand for bricklayers.
This resulted in a very positive number of 2,609 apprentices in training, nationally during the year, the highest in five years.
ABBTF responded to this demand with increased promotion and recruiting programs which went on to contribute greatly to the higher numbers of new apprentice bricklayers. Our strategies have also delivered a younger bricklaying workforce as an outcome.
The Work Ready Program, a key focus this year, has proven most effective in introducing the target audience to the trade. It has given candidates the opportunity to try bricklaying for one week, followed by an onsite trial, with a view to sign up in a bricklaying apprenticeship. As a result, the Program has led to a higher quality of youth commencing in the trade.
Social media and online marketing campaigns targeted our audience, their families and friends. The main messages included projecting a positive trade image, the high skills involved and the varied career path that the qualification in bricklaying offers.
To address the downturn in the market in Western Australia, ABBTF concentrated its effort on developing retention strategies and on the re-engagement of out-of-trade bricklaying apprentices.
We have continued to support employers with the Brickstart subsidy and with financial assistance for employing adult apprentice bricklayers. In addition, this year we introduced funding for employers of female bricklaying apprentices and explored the potential of the immigration market.
On behalf of the Board of Directors I would like to thank the industry, trainers and employers for their support for our efforts to fill the 200+ vacancies for bricklaying apprentices we currently have.