Hiring a bricklaying apprentice makes good business sense:
- The cost of employing an apprentice is less than it would be to take on another employee
- Hiring an apprentice gives you access to a number of subsidies and incentives
Once your apprentice has completed his apprenticeship – and becomes a fully qualified bricklayer, you’ll have a qualified tradesperson to work for you. More skilled hands means less time to do the same work – or allows you to take on more work (and revenue) for your business.
An apprentice is an investment in your business
With support from you, an apprentice is an investment – the more time you spend teaching and training him, the quicker he’ll repay you in the form of quality work.
By allowing an apprentice to follow in your shadow, you can mould him into a highly skilled bricklayer under your close guidance and supervision. As you raise the level of skill to that of your own, you’ll empower him to make a difference to your business – and to himself.
More than double the benefits to your business – take on two apprentices
There’s nothing stopping you from taking on 2 (or more) apprentices.
You’ll still receive the Federal Government grant and the ABBTF financial assistance for each bricklaying apprentice you take on. Plus you’d have all the advantages that come with hiring and mentoring an apprentice, but with double the benefit – in fact even more so. That’s because there’s an enhanced efficiency created when you have two apprentices. You can rotate their jobs to break up any monotony – thereby allowing them to try something different from time to time while improving their learning curve.
You can also alternate their trade school days, so you always have one apprentice on hand to help you onsite – while the other is at college studying more about the trade.
Additionally, it provides a peer group connection for each apprentice – so they can bounce ideas off one another and share the learning experience together. This creates motivation and encouragement for the apprentices to stick with their bricklaying apprenticeship to the very end – which is great for you and great for them.
Duration of Bricklaying Apprenticeship:
The great thing about a bricklaying apprenticeship is that it is competency based training.
This means it’s different from the ‘old school’ arrangement you may have been exposed to in high school. It allows the apprentice to advance through the completion of the training as quickly as they learn. Progression to each subsequent stage of the course is as fast as the individual is ready and able to manage.
The Bricklaying Apprenticeship is a nominal three year or four year course conducted at a TAFE or Registered Training Organisation. Find training locations in each state here. State Governments provide remote location assistance to apprentices travelling to a training college, in particular areas.
The following checklist sets out the training role expected of employers taking on an apprentice bricklayer. If an employer fails to commit to a high standard of onsite training there’s a real risk that the time and effort spent becomes a wasted investment all round. You lose and the industry loses if your apprentice becomes disillusioned and fails to complete the course. It makes good business sense for you to invest in training!
Checklist of Employers Training Responsibility:
- Maintain a strong focus on OH&S standards
- Give clear instructions
- Understand and carry out the requirements as set out in the training plan of the Apprenticeship Agreement
- Know when the apprentice is due for TAFE/RTO training
- Develop a relationship with the TAFE/RTO
- Comply with the award and conditions including pay slip and proof of superannuation
- Be a role model and a leader
- Provide feedback to the RTO regarding progress
- Encourage apprenticeship completion
- Provide adequate onsite training, including time on the trowel
- Make contact with the appropriate authorities and ABBTF if the apprenticeship becomes in any way ‘at risk’
Apprentice Bricklayer Application Process:
Once you have found a potential apprentice bricklayer follow these 5 key steps to completing the process:
- Check out your candidate to be sure they are suitable. The better suited candidates are are keen to learn, physically up to it, have a practical approach to work and have the right attitude. Playing sport can show good co-ordination and an ability to work in a team. ABBTF can provide information for the new apprentice and the employer in on what to expect. Some employers put an apprentice on a trial for a day or two to see how they go before signing them up.
- To sign up your apprentice, contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider where you will be taken through the contract of employment and training. The AASN will also advise on the Government incentives available to employers and apprentices.
- You will need to nominate a TAFE or Registered Training Organisation (RTO) in discussion with your apprentice.
- You will meet with the TAFE or RTO contact after enrolment in training to discuss and agree on the training plan. This includes timing of training, choice of electives, how training is delivered and how assessments are done, together with the employer’s important role in training the apprentice.
- You need to contact ABBTF immediately after the sign-up at the AASN. ABBTF will register you for apprentice employment subsidies payable over the next three years.
Young people commencing a Bricklaying Apprenticeship today are likely to be on average older than they were ten to twenty years ago. On average, 40% of all Australian apprentices are over 24 years.
In bricklaying, there are many lifestages at which a person might learn about and decide on an apprenticeship. These include at the end of Year 10, 11 or 12 at school, switching from another apprenticeship, switching from other employment or being unemployed, being employed in bricklaying, immigrating and so on.
There is therefore, no easy description of what you might expect in the character of a new apprentice. Meeting and interviewing the apprentice prospect will quickly help to build a profile of the candidate.
What to Expect of the Z Generation:
One key group of candidates for a Bricklaying Apprenticeship is, of course those moving through the school system in Years 10, 11 and 12.
These students are part of the Z generation, babies born from 1990 up to the present time. The following points set out some key characteristics that set them apart from earlier generations of apprentices you may have employed. In summary, the Z generation will be more aware of their responsibilities and conditions of employment in the Apprenticeship and they will have higher expectations of their employer as a partner in the successful completion of their Apprenticeship.
What sets them apart?
- They were born into the World Wide Web, rather than growing with it like previous generations.
- They are highly connected, lifelong users of communications and media technologies like the internet, instant messaging, text messaging, MP3 Players, mobile phones, smart phones, touchscreens, iPhone, iPod, iPad, Tablets, E-readers, Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, Skype, flickr and so on.
- Were born with mobile connection, making it normal to stay in touch at all times.
- Are often already experts in their fields of interest due to the access and use of technology.
- They tend to believe in the restoration of traditional family values, are more conservative, self-controlled, responsible and conformist.
- Are more tolerant of other cultures through education and have a strong sense of their own cultural heritage.
- Readily combine environmentalism and entrepreneurship, having been born in an era of higher awareness of the environment.
- Will share thoughts and observations online on a variety of media, topics and products.
- They are more aware of modern day challenges such as climate change.
In terms of lifestyle and interests and hobbies they have the same mix as earlier generations.
Mentoring Your Apprentice:
Taking an apprentice under your wing means a level of responsibility to them and to yourself.
As well as a responsibility for Onsite Training, as an employer of an apprentice it makes good business sense to give your full support to the individual’s needs.
The apprentice is there to develop himself – so get him involved in hands on learning from the start.
Give credit and praise for his contribution – after all, you won’t just be an employer – you’ll be a mentor too.
The more dedication and encouragement you provide as a role model and a leader to your apprentice, the more likely they will become a better bricklayer; and be committed to you as an employer for the long run.
Continuous encouragement goes a long way to ensuring the full completion of the apprenticeship.
Remember the better the relationship and the more you skill-up an apprentice the less time they need to spend at trade school; which means, the more time they can spend onsite being productive for you!