A number of young bricklaying apprentices started out thinking they wanted to be carpenters.
We are hearing that views about carpentry and bricklaying are changing when people learn more about what’s involved in each trade. Increasingly, we’re seeing young people choose bricklaying over carpentry, due to opportunities, work effort and financial issues.
The big reasons for this choice are:
- Become a Builder:
The pathway and opportunity to progress to becoming a builder is the same, whether from bricklaying or carpentry.
- Job Opportunities:
There are 200 bricklaying apprenticeship vacancies currently and proportionally less in carpentry.
- Visual Satisfaction:
Bricklayers can see the results of their work, whereas most carpentry work is hidden from view.
- Construction Changes:
Bricklaying skills and process have not changed over the years. There is less carpentry work due to changes in building design and features.
- Work on Iconic Sites:
There are many major brick and block buildings which bricklayers can be proud of. Carpenters do not get the opportunity to work on iconic buildings.
Standing up pre-fabricated frames and trusses is heavy and difficult work for carpenters, whereas equipment, technique and training alleviate most to the heavy loading in bricklaying.
- Cooler Conditions:
A bricklayer can work in the cooler shade on most residential building sites. They can often follow the shade throughout the day. There is not the same relief when carpenters put up frames.
- Working at Heights:
Second storey frames and roof trusses are difficult and can be risky for carpenters whereas bricklayers can work from scaffold.
- Work Outdoors:
Working outdoors is a great attraction to being a tradie. Bricklayers enjoy being outside whereas a majority of carpentry is inside work after framing stage.
- Skilled Craft + Tools:
Bricklaying requires high skills to lay bricks by hand to a line achieving level and plumb. Carpentry relies on power tools to complete difficult components.
- Adult Apprentice Support:
ABBTF provide financial support for employers of adult apprentices not available to carpenters.
- ABBTF Subsidies:
ABBTF provide subsidies each year to employers of apprentice bricklayers which is not available to carpenters.
- Apprenticeship Term:
In Victoria and Western Australia the nominal apprenticeship term for bricklaying is three years and therefore gets apprentices qualified and eligible for tradesman’s rates earlier. Carpentry is a four year apprenticeship. Duration of training.
- Tool Costs:
When bricklayers start as contractors the business start up costs for tools is $3,000 to $4,000. A carpenter would need $10,000 to $15,000 to set up.