We have come to the end of an era for the ABBTF in WA with the last working day for Ian Fitzgerald, trainer, mentor, industry leader, gentleman and friend. Ian first started with the ABBTF in 2010, though he’s been making an impact on young people’s lives for much longer than that.
Coming from a family of bricklayers, he spent many years on the trowel before becoming a training professional at RTS where he eventually managed the business (RTO). It was in those days that I met Ian, instantly gravitating to his warmth, passion and genuine nature.
There has been no job too small or too big for Ian. From speaking to Ministers and CEO’s of major companies to mentoring uncertain high school students yearning for someone to take an interest in their lives, which he did so well.
When Ian spoke to people about his passion for the trade and trade training, you knew he meant it. He is a firm believer in opportunity, fairness and family.
ABBTF meets a range of kids and adults’ but often sees those with a less than ideal family and/or scholastic background and as a result, often with low self-esteem and drive. Ian excelled in finding common ground and igniting hope through encouragement and praise. An unwritten core function of this business, yet a quality hard to find and to put into practice, day-in day-out.
He’s received so many well-wishes via ABBTF over the past week but these two sum-up many. From Wayne Sutherland of Skill Hire WA:
“Fitzy, You are an inspiration to the industry mate. You never lost that drive to pass on the knowledge and worth of one of the toughest trades out there, making the new generation of brickies see a real future in this field. You’ll be missed but I’m sure we’ll be seeing you around, take care!”
And this one from Eddie Campbell, ASL 2 – Lecturer Bricklaying, North Metropolitan TAFE, Balga Campus:
“Yeah, Fitzy. Will certainly be sadly missed in our industry. A great bloke with plenty of knowledge, a terrific personality and was always available to give support to any situation at any time.“
The moment Ian walked into a room or training area was the moment people would smile. He was always quick to tell a joke to lighten the atmosphere and make you feel good about yourself and what you were doing there.
Ian has now retired from permanent work with ABBTF after seven years. However, I have a feeling we will still see him from time-to-time, as he loves this industry and has tremendous empathy and respect for those making a difference!
From Karratha to Kalgoorlie, Albany to Armadale and everywhere else in between, he will leave a lasting impression on us all. From a very grateful State Manager and the WA office, I thank you Ian for all of your services to industry and wish you and your family the very best in retirement.
ABBTF Manager WA