Ryan Jager Region: Hunter
I’m 19 years old and in my third year of my apprenticeship. I live in Wadalba NSW and am employed by Alan Holman. The TAFE I attend is at Newcastle. In preparation for the National competition I am working with the TAFE teachers who are giving me extra training, to improve my technique. I’m not too worried – trying to treat it like another day!
I came to bricklaying through having just left school and starting looking for work, I found a job labouring for Alan Holman. Fortunately, a few months later I was put on as an apprentice. What I enjoy most about bricklaying is being outside in the sun – when it’s sunny that is!
The TAFE teachers and my boss provide me with guidance. I don’t really have a hero at this stage but thank my parents for getting me to where I am today.
Sam Spong Region: Illawarra
I’m 19 and in the third year of my apprenticeship. I live in Berrima in the Southern Highlands of NSW. My employer is Jobe Harkness and his business is J&S Harness. The TAFE I am attached to is Illawarra TAFE Wollongong.
Being a national competition, it’s pretty nerve racking, but it’s a great opportunity to compete against the best apprentice bricklayers in Australia! I am looking forward to it!
My boss, Jobe Harkness was Australian WorldSkills National Champion Bricklayer, having competed in the Regional, National and the International, so I have pretty good (!!) support and advice at hand. Both Jobe and my TAFE teacher approached me and persuaded me to give the Regional’s a try.
To prepare I have been training at TAFE once a week. Jobe has also been allowing me to work on the more detailed brickwork, for example return corner sills, bay windows, which all require far more detail.
It’s a no brainer that my main guide through my career so far has been my boss, Jobe. He has mentored me and helped develop my skills. He’s given me opportunities and the confidence to be who I am today in the industry. He gave me the opportunity to lay bricks from day one, so I feel I have not only contributed as part of the team, but I also feel I am part of his family. Jobe is from a family of bricklayers, father and sister both have bricklaying businesses.
My hero though would be my Grandfather who has always supported me. He also worked in the construction industry and achieved so much in his life.
I like the environment, working outdoors and from constantly changing locations. I could not imagine working in an office!
Dwayne Potter Region: Mid Coast
I finished my apprenticeship in February 2012 and am 23. I live in Tenterfield NSW and work for Onelio Meneguzzi Bricklaying. I attended Coffs Harbour North Coast TAFE.
The challenge was the reason I entered the Regional WorldSkills competition. Why not get out there and have a go against the best there is?
I’m proud to have won the Regional competition and now to be competing in such a prestigious Australia wide event. To prepare for the competition I’m keeping in touch with my mentor, studying the plan and building practice walls. For guidance and help during the apprenticeship I relied on my friends and family. They have been a great support. I have a young family and besides my work, I had long distances to travel to TAFE and it took a lot of time and hard work to commit to the apprenticeship, so support was very important. Probably not surprising then, that my parents are my hero’s!
When I started bricklaying, I was young. It was just a job. However, it’s now become a career. The part of bricklaying I enjoy most is the feeling when you finish the job, seeing what the end result is and how much energy has gone into the project. It gives me great satisfaction.