Plumbing boss hit with $121k fine for ‘exploitation of a young person’

A YOUNG plumber was only paid one-fifth of what he was owed. When he asked his boss about it, all he got was abuse.

Source: Plumbing boss hit with $121k fine for ‘exploitation of a young person’

A MAN who told his employee to “seriously, f**k off” after the worker complained about being ripped off has copped a hefty fine.

Michael Patrick Pulis was slugged with a $21,500 penalty, while his company, Pulis Plumbing Pty Ltd, was hit with a further $100,000 fine.

Judge Grant Riethmuller found the employee — a 20-year-old plumber’s labourer — had been underpaid by $26,882 for work done in Melbourne, Geelong and Bendigo in Victoria over a period of just three months in late 2014.

Judge Riethmuller slammed Mr Pulis for his “outrageous exploitation of a young person” and said his conduct had been “nothing short of avarice”.

Mr Pulis paid the man an apprentice rate of just $12.18 per hour despite not having actually signed him up as an apprentice — which meant he was entitled to a far higher hourly rate of $37.08 for ordinary hours and up to $74.16 an hour for overtime.

Because the Fair Work Ombudsman had previously warned Mr Pulis that labourer rates must be paid unless an apprenticeship arrangement was formally registered, Judge Riethmuller found the underpayments had been deliberate.

The worker had only been paid one-fifth of what he was entitled to, and he also missed out on meal and travel allowances as well as leave and termination entitlements.

The employee worked 10- to 12-hour days and was never given feedback about his work, however, after three months on the job Mr Pulis told him his skills were not at a second-year apprentice level.

When the man asked his boss when he would be paid his wages, he was told: “Seriously, f**k off. When I’m ready.”

“The conduct is worse than simply underpaying an employee who has had difficulty obtaining work elsewhere, as the respondents also held out the lure of an apprenticeship to this young man: a particularly significant career and life goal for a young person who is not academically inclined,” Judge Riethmuller said.

“The amount of the underpayment, in comparison to the payments actually made, is significant.

“Remarkably, five of his previous apprentices were employed for less than 100 days.”

The judge said an apprenticeship was supposed to involve mentoring and training and that “in this sense, the employer is in a position of trust with respect to the apprentice”.

“A further loss on the part of the employee in this case is that the time working for the respondents cannot be counted against his apprenticeship because of the failure to sign and lodge the appropriate documentation.”

The young man was back-paid only after the Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action.

Mr Pulis and his company were also found to have breached record-keeping and pay slip laws and failed to comply with a Notice to Produce records issued by a Fair Work inspector.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the conduct could only be described as deliberate.

“It is simply unacceptable to exploit any worker in such a way and the conduct is even more abhorrent when you consider the response the worker received for doing nothing more than asking for what he was lawfully entitled to,” Ms James said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s newly released Record My Hours smartphone app has been designed to help vulnerable young workers such as the labourer in question.

It uses geofencing technology to provide workers with a record of the time they spend at their workplace, and it can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

Are school-leavers really not interested in trades?

Originally published:

AFTER receiving their high school results over the past fortnight, graduates across Australia will be thinking long and hard about their options.

But while they’re going through their course options and preparing job applications, anxious about the dwindling graduate employment rate and competition for positions, there’s one category of jobs that will likely be overlooked.

Analysis by jobs website Adzuna has revealed the jobs that Australians just aren’t interested in, with trades and construction coming out on top.

With minimal qualifications required, you’d think trades would be a popular choice.

The report showed that while jobs advertised in the construction industry has increased by 10 per cent, apprenticeship commencements were down 5.6 per cent year on year.

Adzuna CEO Raife Watson called on schools to remind students of the option of vocational education and training as an alternative to university.

“Despite reports that the residential construction boom in Sydney is starting to wind down, we continue to see growth year-on-year in advertised vacancies across a wide selection of job roles in trades and construction,” he said.

“The primary concern for the construction industry is the continued decline in apprenticeship commencement rates.”

Apparently young Aussies are just not into trades or construction

Apparently young Aussies are just not into trades or construction

Mr Watson said there was a “stigma” associated with TAFE studies and apprenticeships that Australia needed to work to remove.

“Twenty-three university graduates compete for each role, whereas in some Australian states, two jobs are available for all qualified apprentices,” he said.

“I expect this number to increase in the coming years as apprenticeship numbers continue to decline.”

In South Australia, where school leavers’ results were released this morning, graduates are being urged to consider taking on a trade or traineeship.

Business SA says apprenticeships and traineeships are viable career options as Australia faces a skills shortage across a range of industries.

Sharyn Davies, from Apprenticeship Support Australia which is administered by Business SA, said a high score in year 12 is not a guarantee for future success.

“It’s more important for young people to follow their passions,” she said.

“When we are doing something that aligns with our strengths, skills and passions, we have a higher level of wellbeing and are more likely succeed in building a successful career.”

Source: School-leavers not interested in trades

Interested in an apprenticeship? Pre-apprenticeship Course Starts 30/1/2018

We have employers seeking Bricklaying, Tiling and Solid Plastering apprentices. The Certificate II in Construction aims to get students work ready, and into an apprenticeship.

Employers typically want applicants to be under 21, with a drivers license and some experience or a Cert II in Construction. There are opportunities for those over 21, usually in labouring jobs, but sometimes as adult apprentices.

Our next course starts Tuesday January 30th and runs for 10 weeks at 15 Jacobsen Crs, Holden Hill. Government-funded eligibility has been improved so more people have the opportunity to study.

Call us on 8367 5615 or email for more information.

Dates for  2018:

30/01/2018 – 06/04/2018

06/03/2018 – 11/05/2018

01/05/2018 – 06/07/2018

8am – 3:30pm Tuesday – Friday for 10 weeks at 15 Jacobsen Crs, Holden Hill.

This qualification requires 9 core units of competency and 6 electives to be completed. For more information on this training course and employability skills, please visit

Qualification Code: CPC20112


Total qualification: Approx 500 hours depending on electives


Unit Code Unit Title Hours
CPCCOHS2001A Apply OHS requirements and procedures in the construction industry 20
CPCCCM10012A Work effectively in the General Construction Industry 20
CPCCCM1013A Plan and organise work 20
CPCCCM1014A Conduct workplace communication 20
CPCCCM1015A Carry out measurements and calculations 20
CPCCCM2001A Read and interpret plans and specifications 36
CPCCCM2006B Apply basic levelling procedures 8
CPCCCO2013A Carry out concreting to simple forms 20
CPCCCM2005B Use construction tools and equipment 96
CPCCCM2010B Work Safely at Heights 8
Unit Code Unit Title Hours
CPCCCM2008B Erect and dismantle restricted height scaffolding 40
CPCCCM2009A Carry out basic demolition 32
CPCCSF2004A Place and fix reinforcement materials 80
CPCCSP2003A Prepare surfaces for plastering 40
CPCCCM2007B Use explosive power tools 16




PLUS ONE OF THE FOLLOWINGUse wall & floor tiling equipment

Fix standard plasterboard wall sheets

Use solid plastering tools and equipment

Use bricklaying tools and equipment






Trade Apprenticeship Pay Rates put you $110,000+ ahead of Uni Grads after Year 3 of Study -Become a Bricklayer: Apprenticeships

Did you know that choosing a bricklaying apprenticeship will put you financially ahead of a 3 Year Bachelor’s Degree by about $110,000 by your 3rd year?   You will have earned a training wage while you learned a craft-based skill, plus your training fees are reimbursed by your employer and your tool costs are relatively minimal.

Meanwhile, the university student is paying fees upfront and relying on unskilled casual work to subsidise living expenses with no specific job prospect at the finish.  In fact, the report referred to below states that it takes an average of 4.7 years for a uni grad to find full time work in their industry of study.

Read the rest of the article:

Source: Trade Apprenticeship Pay Rates put you $110,000+ ahead of Uni Grads after Year 3 of Study -Become a Bricklayer: Apprenticeships

How to get an apprenticeship in Adelaide

Getting an apprenticeship in South Australia can lead to a long term career in the Building and Construction Industry. That means working outdoors, earning an income while you study and having the opportunity to eventually be your own boss. The tricky part can be choosing which trade is the best fit. Pre-apprenticeship courses are an excellent way to try a number of trades before selecting which one you most enjoy.

Many people select the trade they want to focus on based on knowing someone working in that field. That doesn’t necessarily mean its the trade for you, but it is a good way to find out what working in the industry is like. At FCTA – Building Careers we have developed a pre-apprenticeship programme that allows people to try bricklaying, tiling, plastering, basic concreting and scaffolding. These are also the trades we train apprentices in. That means if you enrol in a pre-apprenticeship course with us, you will be working on some projects with existing apprentices. This is a great way to find out more about the trade.

Currently, we have a number of employers urgently looking to hire apprentices. The majority are after people under 21 who have a drivers license and car. If you are in the process of getting your license, most will consider your application. Adult apprenticeships aren’t as readily available. This is because the employer is paying anyone over 21 at the full rate. Many times employers will prefer to hire people over 21 as labourers instead.

The difference between labouring and an apprenticeship is a ‘Contract of Training’. That means that apprentices sign a binding contract with employers to work for them under the apprenticeship scheme. The benefits for apprentices are that they are paid to go to trade school to complete a Certificate III in their trade of choice, that’s the ‘earn and learn’ tag sometimes mentioned. Contracts are normally for 4 years, so getting an apprenticeship offers both job security and further education.

To help get an apprenticeship in Adelaide you can enrol in a pre-apprenticeship course, approach trades people directly or contact group training organisations (GTO). GTO’s are places like the HIA, TABMA, Maxima, CEG who hire apprentices directly and then place the apprentice with a ‘host’ employer. The Government has also set up a great website that explains the pathways for apprentices

If you are considering an apprenticeship and you have questions, you can always arrange a time to talk to us or come in for a meeting. Our pre-apprenticeship courses run through out the year. If you would like to enrol, please call on 8367 5615 or email The dates for our next courses are:

05/09/2017 – 10/11/2017

30/01/2018 – 06/04/2018

06/03/2018 – 11/05/2018

01/05/2018 – 06/07/2018

Advertised positions are often posted on Gumtree, Facebook, Seek & Indeed Jobs. Each morning a summary of these advertised roles are posted to our Facebook page.




Apprenticeships Available – Bricklaying, Tiling and Carpentry

We have employers looking to hire apprentices in the following trades:

  • Bricklaying – 6 positions available working metro Adelaide
  • Tiling – 4 positions available working all over Adelaide.
  • Carpentry – 12 positions available, 1 school based option working central Adelaide.

Applicants must be under 21 with a car and license. Trade apprenticeships have a high level of physical work so applicants must have a good level of fitness. Preference will be given to applicants who have completed a Pre-apprenticeship course and/or have trade experience. To apply contact Trisch on 83675615 or email

For the first time in a decade, the training rate for trades apprentices and trainees has fallen below 10 per cent

Joel Fitzgibbon is a member of parliament, but let’s not hold that against him! Here he writes about the decline in apprenticeships

How do we expect to maintain a strong economy and give our kids every opportunity if we allow the progressive disappearance of apprenticeships? The latest yearly figures from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) show once again that apprentice numbers have fallen over the last three years.

There are now only 265,000 apprentices in training, compared to 413,400 in September 2013.  Further, there was a 4.5 per cent decline in the number of apprentices and trainees in training at December 31 2016, compared to December 31, 2015.

Overall commencements have continued the downward spiral since the government came into office, with a further decrease of 2.6 percent. Trade commencements are down 12.4 percent as at December 2016 compared with the previous year.

Just as alarming, apprenticeship completions decreased by 16.1 percent over the same period. Trade completions decreased by 13.6 percent and non-trade completions decreased by 18.0 percent.

For the first time in a decade, the training rate for trades apprentices and trainees has fallen below 10 per cent. Fewer than 10 per cent of trade workers are now apprentices. The training rate – the percentage of workers employed as an apprentice or trainee – is also down again, from 2.3 to 2.2 percent.Not every child leaving school is a candidate for

Not every child leaving school is a candidate for university.  Yet in an ever increasingly complex world, we need every student to make the transition to further training.  And who is going to fix our cars, build our homes and repair our pipes?

Whatever the cause of the decline in apprenticeship numbers, the problem must be addressed and there is certainly a role for government.  It should be a top priority.

Source: Apprenticeships vital for a strong economy | The Advertiser – Cessnock

Pre-apprenticeship Certificate II in Construction Course Dates

If you are looking for an apprenticeship the Certificate II in Construction (CPC20112) course, is a great way to find out which trade you enjoy the most. Pre-apprenticeship students work side by side with existing apprentices. This gives students the chance to have some insight about what being an apprentice is like.

Students will gain an introduction into the following trades:

  • Bricklaying
  • Tiling
  • Plastering
  • Concreting
  • Scaffolding

Employers frequently contact FCTA seeking candidates for apprenticeships. They are generally seeking people under 21 who have a car and license and either experience in the industry or someone who has completed a pre-apprenticeship course.

As part of the Certificate II in Construction, students are placed into the trade for work experience. For students who have some previous experience, or show potential, this could happen at any time during the course. If there is an opportunity to secure an apprenticeship you will be placed out into the trade ASAP.

Pre-apprenticeship courses will run on the following dates:

05/09/2017 – 10/11/2017

30/01/2018 – 06/04/2018

06/03/2018 – 11/05/2018

01/05/2018 – 06/07/2018

The course is held at FCTA – Building Careers, 15 Jacobsen Crs Holden Hill South Australia. The duration of the course is 10 weeks, Tuesday – Friday 8am – 3:30pm. Please call 088367 5615 or email to book in a time to apply for the course.

Hiring An Apprentice? You May Be Eligible For $10,000 In State Government Incentives Via The Jobs Accelerator Grant

The Job Accelerator Grant is available for businesses that take on additional employees and maintain that increase over a 12 and 24 month period.

To be eligible for the Job Accelerator Grant scheme the new position needs to meet the following conditions:

  • the person is employed in a new job on a full-time, part-time or casual basis, but not on a seasonal basis;
  • the employment commences between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2018 inclusive;
  • the employment is maintained for a period of 2 years to be eligible for the full grant, or 12 months to be eligible for the partial grant;
  • the services of the employee are performed wholly or mainly in SA; and
  • the employee is a South Australian resident.

For businesses liable for payroll tax in South Australia, a grant of up to $5 000 is available for each new job created and the increase is maintained for at least 12 months, and up to $10 000 if the increase in full-time equivalent employees is maintained for 2 years. For part time and casual employees, the grant is pro-rated, and will be paid based on actual hours worked.

Businesses that are not liable for payroll tax in South Australia, or any organisation exempt from payroll tax in South Australia, a grant of up to $2 000 is available for each new job created and the increase is maintained for at least 12 months, and up to $4 000 if the increase in employees is maintained for 2 years. An additional requirement for this grant is that the new employee, regardless whether it is a full time, part time or casual position must work on average 22 hours or more per week across the grant period to be eligible.

As part of the 2017-18 State Government Budget announcement, businesses that register a new employee for a Job Accelerator Grant will receive up to an additional $5000 ($2 500 per year) if that employee is an eligible apprentice or trainee where the position is also deemed to be eligible for the Job Accelerator Grant.

The grant is paid at the 12 month and 24 month anniversary of the job start date.

More information and to register for the grant can be accessed from or our staff are available to speak to Monday to Friday 8:30am -5pm (excluding public holidays) on 8226 2210.


Why do so many apprentices leave their apprenticeships?

Alice Bednarz, National Centre for Vocational Education Research

Approximately half of all apprenticeship contracts in the trades are not completed. In this context, this review draws together existing research on why apprentices do not complete their training. The issue of non-completion is considered from multiple angles, including apprentices’ self-reported reasons for non-completion, the impact of employer characteristics, and apprentices’ and employers’ satisfaction with the training provider. The report is based on findings from surveys undertaken by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and other national surveys, industry studies and research papers.

Key messages

  • Employment-related reasons are the most commonly cited reasons for not completing an apprenticeship. These include experiencing interpersonal difficulties with employers or colleagues, being made redundant, not liking the work and changing career. By contrast, issues with the off-the-job training are the least frequently cited reasons for not completing an apprenticeship.
  • There is a large difference in completers’ and non-completers’ satisfaction with their employment experience overall. The majority of completers (80%) are satisfied with the employment experience overall, compared with just 42% of non-completers. This provides further evidence that the employment experience, rather than the off-the-job-training experience, carries greater weight in whether an apprentice stays or goes.
  • There is conflicting evidence on the importance of wages. Most studies find that low wages are not the most common reason for non-completion, but they are nonetheless one of the top few factors. An increase in wages alone is unlikely to solve the problem of low completion rates, since multiple factors are often to blame.
  • Apprentices generally leave their apprenticeship contract early on: 60% of those who leave do so within the first year.
  • The influence of the employer cannot be overstated. Employers with the highest completion rates are generally larger, experienced employers with well-organised systems for managing and recruiting apprentices. Employers with lower completion rates tend to be smaller and have less experience.

These findings suggest a number of ideas for future policy developments, such as encouraging more rigorous recruitment practices; providing greater support for smaller, less-experienced employers; providing greater mentoring support for apprentices, particularly in the early stages of their apprenticeship; and considering alternative apprenticeship models, specifically those that reduce the pressure on employers.

The full paper can be found here