There is regular debate on the value of bricklayer training conducted on the job site versus that conducted off-site, at a TAFE/RTO training centre. The answer is that both are very valuable – ABBTF’s view is that a blended model combining on and offsite experience gives the best results and the contributions are very different in nature.
You might be surprised to know that some Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s) deliver up to 100% of bricklayer training on-site. But to be successful, it relies heavily on the contractor having both the skills and time to train the apprentice in circumstances where the commercial pressures of getting enough bricks laid often impacts on the quality of training. Checklist of Employer on-site training responsibilities.
On-site (also known as on-the-job training) works well when the relationship is strong, for example involving a father and son or when the apprentice is specifically being trained with a view to his being part of a rapidly growing business. On-site training has the obvious benefit of learning on a real job rather than in a simulated environment. Most important though is ensuring the apprentice has time on the trowel and learns all facets of bricklaying and in line with the developmental stages of the training program. However, when bricklaying rates are low and the apprentice spends long periods on the mixer or loading up jobs, he or she risks missing out on essential, good quality training. ABBTF is aware that despite TAFE/RTO onsite supervision, sometimes apprentices are being ticked off as competent when in fact they have not gained the skills required by the training package.
The onsite apprentice assessment process by the RTO can also be seriously flawed when competency is judged on the completed job rather than seeing how the work was planned and built progressively by the apprentice.
Off-the-job training has the advantage of close supervision and teaching as well as an enthusiastic learning culture which exists in a group of young people at the same stage of training. Work is simulated to satisfy the requirements of the training package but will not always replicate the variety of conditions and challenges experienced on a job site. This is why on-site working and training is an important complimentary part to off-site training. Apprentices Off-site Training – How it Works
Off-site training can also provide the tools and materials to complete a wide range of projects not always seen on a job site, extending the apprentice’s knowledge and opportunity to consider different long term directions within bricklaying. Other advantages of off-site training are that the learning experience is not hampered by bad weather and skilled qualified trainers are always on hand to educate, assist and inspire. Many Regional WorldSkills contenders have been born out of their off-site training experience.
Off-site training also delivers the extremely important theory and underpinning knowledge required by the training package which makes up the Apprenticeship Certificate III qualification.
ABBTF is encouraged by a number of TAFE’s that have moved from a 100% off-site model to a blended arrangement – with the aim of producing well-trained craftsmen and women to continue the tradition of quality bricklaying. Stronger, supportive relationships are being developed between these TAFEs and the employer because of the joint, more direct interest in the Apprentice. I’d like to see them share their apprentice training outcomes and results from blended arrangements with other TAFE’s and RTOs. After all, every training organisation wants to produce the best possible apprentices and they play a major role in creating the skilled, qualified bricklaying workforce needed for the future.
What do you think? Send me your comments in the Blog or contact me at 1300 66 44 96.