ABBTF and Pivotal Labour Hire & Training have joined forces to provide bricklayer recognition qualifications and awareness training for ten Zimbabwean 457 Visa Bricklayers helping them establish a new life in Sydney. Work has been organised for the group and they start later this week. Each member of the group is on a two-year work Visa with the opportunity to achieve permanent residency on completion. It’s estimated that 3.4 million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the population have fled their country for a better life. Most of them have gone to three countries – South Africa, Australia and the UK.
The group attended a modified Work Ready Program (WRP) training course, at Granville TAFE in the heart of western Sydney. It was run by the ABBTF which is focused on helping to overcome the severe shortage of bricklayers as NSW building activity remains at record levels. Pivotal Labour Hire & Training have secured the work positions.
ABBTF normally runs a short WRP training course which gives newly minted trainees the opportunity to take up an apprenticeship. Builders, sub-contractors and other construction companies employ and host the job and with onsite training and TAFE or RTO studies, apprentices become fully qualified bricklayers.
The Housing Industry Association has reported that residential construction has seen national commencements increase by more than 41% over the past three years to 205,000 starts. In the same period New South Wales commencements have increased by 77.5% to 54,680 starts.
There simply aren’t enough bricklayers to meet this level of demand and as a result waiting times for new homes has stretched out as builders struggle to keep pace with demand. It’s interesting to get another national’s perspective on bricklaying. It made me laugh to hear them say they were happy with most aspects of Australia except how cold it is. Being an Irish bricklayer myself, and having worked in all types of weather from rain to sleet to zero degrees on a good day, I found it very funny. I warned them not to consider the UK as an alternative as they wouldn’t like the weather at all.
The WRP deals with all issues in one go. Provided the trainees have the aptitude and want to become bricklayers we have the training on tap and jobs lined up within weeks of them coming on board this program. ABBTF is doing whatever it can nationally to make any issues as easy to solve as possible. It’s a great way to help refugees and displaced people who’ve suffered enormously.
The 2011 Census, the last available, noted there were about 30,000 Zimbabwe-born people living in Australia. The vast majority are skilled and educated, with 74.5% of the Zimbabwe-born aged 15 years and over possessing higher non-school qualifications, compared to 55.9% of the Australian population.
ABBTF Regional Manager