John White

So You Think a Bricklaying Apprenticeship is Hard Work?

We all know the challenges of getting through a bricklaying apprenticeship in NSW, especially living in the most expensive city in the country namely Sydney.

The Award wage for apprentices is a national Award and trying to stretch apprenticeship pay in an expensive environment is particularly difficult despite the Incentives. First year out of school you need to get up in the morning earlier than you ever have and physically, you’re working much harder than you ever thought you would or could.


If Music Be the Food of Brickies…

The picture above is of a performing arts school in Sydney where the design of the brickwork replicates a music sound wave.

Brickies can only look at this work and wonder what radio station they were on when they built that? I must say I like it. Bricklaying is a trade where you can listen to music all day. Usually the apprentice gets no say in what is listened to on site though, as’ what the boss says’, goes!


The Crime of No, or Delaying Trowel Time

If you have an apprentice bricklayer in your team, we say you’ve got someone pretty special and we want to see him complete his time and become a highly skilled, qualified tradesman.

You don’t need a Diploma in Human Resources to know that it is damn hard at the moment to attract young people into an apprenticeship in our colourful trade of bricklaying but we’re not alone. Motor trades, hairdressing and butchery trades, for example, have their own challenges. I believe a key reason is the breadth of choices on offer to today’s school leavers – it’s immense! It seems there’s a new training organisation opening every day offering kids a bright imaginable future if they just give them their time and lots of money – even if there’s really no job at the end!


The Young Wise Owl Should Buy a Trowel

We’ve banged on a bit about trowel time lately and how a poor apprentice will leave the excellent trade of bricklaying simply because his boss is not giving him time on a trowel. But is it always the boss’s fault?

If you want to get more trowel time at work, you’ll need to take the bull by the horn, so to speak.


MCA Annual Awards Dinner 2014

The Masonry Contractors Association of NSW & ACT (MCA) 16th Annual Awards for Brick and Blocklaying excellence took place on Friday, November 7. Once again, the stars of the night were the combined works of the 46 entries submitted over seven categories!

The Awards night was held at Dockside in Cockle Bay and was attended by 250 industry guests. Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Geoff Noble, CEO of the Australian Brick & Blocklaying Training Foundation (ABBTF), ongoing platinum sponsors of this major even


War Against Work

The laws of supply and demand are fundamental to a democratic society and are the foundations of all commercial decision making. The laws of supply and demand are currently playing a big part of the reality of our country’s job market.

The Masonry Contractors Association of NSW & ACT “War Against Work” article published recently on their website asks the question “Have you sent your children to War yet?” this article relays a sentiment by many working in the employment sector and puts the issue forward in a new and different light.


A Life Changing Success in Bricklaying

Aziz Muradi is a great example of grabbing opportunities in both hands in achieving a start in an apprenticeship in bricklaying in the ACT.

Aziz is a 19 year old refugee from Afghanistan who fled his war torn country in a boat in 2012. His experience in bricklaying started when he laid his first brick during an ABBTF Step Out Program.


Geometry, Physics and Commercial Nous – Ingredients for a Bricklayer

It’s fair to say that many bricklayers get a bum rap from people who don’t understand the skills and knowledge that go into being a first rate bricklayer. For generations, bricklayers have variously been accused of being without the skill level required of other trades. If you’ve spent some time on a building site you have probably heard someone say “Don’t ask me I’m just the dumb brickie?” which is the way some bricklayers side-step an argument. As we all know, it takes a long time and much repetition, to undo this kind of self-deprecation.


Clay Levels in Sand – How Much is OK?

Ever been called back to a job by a client where your work has been acid cleaned but there are still residual mortar stains and smears?  Ever had the client suggest that they acid clean the work again? Well tell them not to – what they probably have are clay smears, not cement. Cement is […]


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