Thursday, August 29th, 2013
ABBTF’s efforts to increase training numbers for bricklaying apprentices are being thwarted by Government policies which appear to assist young people in their apprenticeship, but not employers who provide the employment and training.

We welcome support for apprentices, however, with apprentice numbers falling in the construction sector, more needs to be done to create jobs and support employers in the residential housing sector.

Bricklaying apprentice numbers have fallen 30% in the past two years and the following policies have only centred on assistance to apprentices:

•    Liberal Party promise of interest free loans to apprentices.
•    Labor Party promise of additional Trade Training Centres.
•    Pay increased for apprentices – up to 31%.
•    Apprenticeship Mentoring Program investment of $80 Million.
•    Increased Tools for Your Trade Payment to $5,500 per apprentice.

Government support of employers has been $4,000 in subsidies which has remained unchanged for the past decade.  Two temporary periods of Kickstart bonuses over the past five years have not been extended and do not provide the ongoing certainty that small business desperately needs.

Many employers have also had to pay higher training fees for their apprentices due to State Government cuts to TAFE funding.

The lack of support for employment and training comes at a time when residential housing is depressed and the small businesses of contractors cannot cover their costs due to lower rates and uncertainty of work.

There is now a real risk of a skill shortage in future years when housing commencements are expected to recover.  There is also the concern that with the ageing workforce, many contractors are close to retirement or likely to leave the trade to take up less physical occupations.

The Government that is installed on 7 September will need to examine their policies in relation to Vocational training and jobs to ensure a serious skill shortage in bricklaying and other construction trades does not occur.

Contact Profile

Australian Brick & Blocklaying Training Foundation (ABBTF)

The ABBTF was established by manufacturers of clay brick and concrete masonry throughout Australia to ensure there is an adequate and competent bricklaying and blocklaying workforce.  Its purpose is to support the demand for bricks and blocks as a construction material and improve the standing of bricklayers and blocklayers within the industry.

ABBTF apprenticeship programs to address the skill shortage in bricklaying are funded by a small levy on the sale of clay bricks and concrete masonry and a matching contribution from brick and block manufacturers. The levy represents $16 on the cost of an average Australian house and $40 for double brick construction, the prominent brick in Western Australia.

Geoff Noble from ABBTF is available for interview and con be contacted on 0418 388 774 or 03 9556 3033.  Visit the industry stakeholder site: or the student’s site:
Geoff Noble
P: 0418 388 774


Bricklaying, Apprentices, ABBTF, Jobs, Government



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