I spent this afternoon catching up with one of FCTA – Building Careers recently completed apprentices, Jay Gerardis.
Jay is 21 and has just finished his bricklaying apprenticeship and completing the training required to apply for his builders licence. In Jays words, the best reasons to become a bricklayer are ‘being able to work the hours you want, be outside, not stuck in an office’ That’s when Jay looks at me in front of my computer and adds in ‘no offence’.
Jay won the HIA Bricklaying Apprentice of the Year award in 2010, 2011 & 2012. This year he has been nominated in the SA Training Awards, for Apprentice of the Year.
Jay got in to bricklaying after completing a week’s work experience.
“You have to try it first, I was even thinking of doing tiling, but once I tried bricklaying I made my mind up.With the other trades you’re either stuck inside all day, or like carpenters, most the time people can’t see your work”.
When I ask Jay about changes in the industry he talks about his concern about the possible price increases associated with the carbon tax and ‘green’ building, versus the benefits of building greener homes. “There’s definitely a move to these new 5 star energy efficient homes. I’ve worked on a few of them, and they are a bit more expensive but you have to think about all the money you’re going to save over the years, it’s worth it”.
The biggest shock for Jay once completing his apprenticeship was finding out about all the tax and financial issues during the training for his builders licence, “I was talking to this guy and saying, do you know you can claim all these things on your tax, and the guy had no idea, I just said, you’ve got to do the training!”
Jay is currently working on a stone fronted house in the Adelaide Hills, “it’s a tough site, it’s like building on the side of a mountain, but it’s going to look great. You don’t mind the tougher sites when you work out how much you can earn by putting in the extra effort. I’ve built with Hebel, stone, block and brick, there’s lots of different ways to build. At the moment I’m working on a classic style house, there’s a trend getting back to that look, and red brick homes”.
Planning to hire his own apprentice once his business is up and running, “As an apprentice you think, how does the boss want it done, but then when you go to do it, you end up mixing what your boss has taught you with what you learn at trade school, that’s what’s best about it. I’m definitely hiring an apprentice, it was the best thing that happened to me.”
Marketing & Project Manager,
FCTA – Building Careers