Have your say about changes to how Bricklayers are trained

Apprentice bricklayers complete a Certificate III in Bricklaying/Blocklaying. This qualification comes from a training package that lists exactly what trade schools must train apprentices in. If you feel that changes should be made, here’s your opportunity! Some of the contentious issues we get feedback on are:

  • apprentices having to currently complete 5 arches requiring trade school attendance – the proposal is to reduce this to 4 – should this be reduced at all or become an elective unit?
  • the inclusion of sub-floor construction in the brick veneer AND cavity brick subjects
  • How much time should be focused on the level of detail in the Australian Standards? we get ‘Goldilocks’ feedback on this (too little versus too much)
  • Apprentices not being taught enough of the traditional techniques versus apprentices being taught too many traditional techniques – think fireplaces, number of different types of bonds, decorative elements.
  • The change in qualification name to Certificate III in Bricklaying/Blocklaying and Paving (note: paving units will be electives and not core subjects).

Trade schools are audited by a dedicated government body to ensure that all parts of a training package are correctly being trained. What is being proposed in these changes will affect every bricklaying apprentice in the country. If you feel that there are gaps in training or a focus on the wrong types of skills, this is your chance to make a difference!

Visit this website to take part in the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/brickblockpavingDP2

As always, if you would like to have a chat about these changes, or ask questions, feel free to contact us at 0883675615 or email info@fcta.com.au.


New Dates for Short Courses – Tiling, Waterproofing & Plastering

We have a range of short courses running before the end of the year. Our most popular tiling courses can be customised for people looking to develop specific skills. These courses are eligible for CITB subsidies for people working in the trades with a CITB membership number – this is free to apply for at citb.org.au. If you are interested in other courses, or would like to request different dates, please email admin@fcta.com.au

Tiling – 1 week:

24th – 28th September 2018

Cost: $750 or $250 with CITB membership

Book online

Waterproofing – 3 days:

15th – 17th October 2018

Cost: $550 or $200 with CITB membership

Book online

Acrylic Rendering – 3 days:

29th – 31st October 2018

Cost: $600 or $250 with CITB membership

Book online

Tiling – 1 week:

26th – 30th November 2018

Cost: $750 or $250 with CITB membership

Book online

Contractors License Course:

6th – 7th October 2018 & 20th – 21st October 2018 

Cost: $950 or $450 with CITB membership

Book online

Country’s top tradies earning a fortune – news.com.au

THE AUSTRALIAN tradies who make the most money have been revealed. One trade is able to charge nearly has much as $100 per hour.

WHEN you think of high-paying jobs, doctors and lawyers usually come to mind. But it turns out being a tradie can be just as lucrative.

New data shows just how much money tradies are making and it’s big bucks. Very big bucks.

The trade that pockets the most cash has been revealed, and it’s not plumbers or electricians — although they follow closely behind.

A newly released tradie rich list for the 2018 financial year has removalists from NSW in the top spot with their charge-out rates rising to a whopping $95.21 per hour. In 2017 their average hourly rate was $88.49 per hour.

The data, which was broken down state by state, shows that South Australian removalists also managed to top their state’s list for highest-paid tradies, despite a drop in hourly rates from $102.32 in 2017 to $94.83 per hour in 2018.

The national average for removalists was $93.24 per hour.

In second place were plumbers, earning $10 per hour less ($83.04) than the average Aussie removalists, followed by electricians, handymen and carpenters.

The list is rounded off by landscapers, plasterers, gardeners, painters and cleaners, who are in tenth spot with an average hourly wage of $33.41.

According to job quote website ServiceSeeking’s data, handymen were the biggest mover in terms of percentage change, with an increase in charge-out rates by 11.97 per cent.

Plumbers in Western Australia and NSW come in third and fourth place, charging $92.22 and $90.83 per hour respectively.

In fifth place are removalists from WA, earning $90.35 per hour.

Pushing Queensland builders into sixth spot was their huge increase in rates of 32.73 per cent. Last year their average hourly rate was $66.77 and this year it spiked to $88.63.

Next are removalists from Queensland followed by WA electricians with removalists and plumbers from Victoria rounding out the top ten.


Source: NSW removalists named highest-paid tradies in Australia

New Apprentice Pay Rates July 2018 Guide

Employers and apprentices frequently ask us about their pay rates. How much you get paid is a hot topic at trade school! To help out, we have utilised the FairWork Ombudsman’s Pay Rate Tool. This is a free resource and I encourage anyone referring to this page to check their rate themselves. Please note THIS IS A GUIDE ONLY. Pay rates and allowances can change depending on personal circumstances.

Base Rates 1st year without year 12 1st year completed year 12 2nd year without year 12 2nd year completed year 12 3rd year 4th year
Bricklaying  $      12.53  $      13.64  $      14.75  $      15.86  $      18.09  $      21.42
Tiling  $      12.77  $      13.88  $      14.99  $      16.11  $      18.33  $      21.66
Stonemasonry  $      12.77  $      13.88  $      14.99  $      16.11  $      18.33  $      21.66
Plastering  $      12.62  $      13.74  $      14.85  $      15.96  $      18.18  $      21.52

To see the full guides, please click on the links below:

Bricklaying apprentice rates

Tiling and Stonemasonry apprentice pay rates

Plasterering apprentice pay rates


Apprentice and trainee numbers in South Australian decline but we have employers desperate to hire

A new article in The Advertiser today reports on the decline in the number of apprenticeships. Despite this, we have a huge demand from employers wanting to hire apprentices.

The biggest obstacle seems to be the number of under 21’s who either do not have a drivers license or have lost their licenses. The Government needs to consider reversing the policy that requires people to be on their ‘L’ plates for 12 months. Along with this, the loss of a drivers license can result in being completely excluded from working in the building and construction industry. Using public transport to get to different job sites, some of which are located in new suburbs without any infrastructure – is not practical or even possible most of the time.

Below is the article from The Advertiser:

THE number of traineeships and apprenticeships being undertaken in South Australia has continued to decline, a new report shows.

South Australia’s Training and Skills Commission 2017 Annual Report, tabled in State Parliament on Tuesday, showed last year there were 15,700 apprentices and trainees in training from 17,100 the year before – an 8.2 percent drop. An estimated 6100 apprentices and trainees successfully completed their training contract in the 12 months between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 – again down from the year before when there was 6700 – a drop of 9 percent.

In the report, Commission chair Michael Boyce said SA has followed a national trend.“Apprenticeship and traineeship activity has declined nationwide since July 2012 due to multiple factors,” Mr Boyce said.“The significant decrease in traineeship activity was primarily driven by the removal of almost all funding to employers for employing existing workers under the Australian Government’s Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme.“Challenging economic conditions reduced apprenticeship commencements between 2012-13 and 2015-16.“However, the impact of these changes has lessened in the past three years, with preliminary data indicating apprenticeship commencements have stabilised, while the decline in traineeship commencements has slowed.”The new State Government has promised $100 million over the forward estimates to create 21,000 new apprenticeships or traineeships in SA. Last month The Advertiser revealed the new program to expand skills training for young people in SA will start from July, despite ongoing negotiations to unlock $100 million in crucial federal cash.

Source: Apprentice and trainee numbers in South Australian decline | Adelaide Now

HIA-Stratco South Australia Awards Apprentice Bricklayer 2017 – Hayden Ashby

Big congratulations to Haydon Ashby, of Semaphore South, South Australia, for being awarded Apprentice Bricklayer of the Year 2017 in the HIA-Stratco state annual Apprentice & Trade Contractor Awards, held recently in Adelaide. Haydon is now in his third year, employed by HIA under a Group Training Organisation (GTO) arrangement where his host employer is Michael Quaini bricklayer based in Cowandilla, Adelaide.

Haydon started work with Michael in early 2016 and has proven through his diligence and skill to be a worthy recipient of this award, as judged by field officers employed by HIA. There was only one bricklaying Award made by HIA and sponsor Stratco, covering all bricklaying apprenticeship years, so it is a strong recognition of effort to have achieved this award – well done Haydon!

I attended the event and on behalf of Australian Brick and Blocking Foundation (ABBTF) and presented this important award to Haydon. It was an honour and a pleasure to see SA’s apprentices from several trades, receive acknowledgement for their strong performances.

If you’re considering an Apprenticeship in SA check out your options at FCTA, TAFESA. Also visit Become-a-Bricklayer for information on how to explore bricklaying in your State and much more.

Just a bit more information on the role of Group Training:  For bricklayers not wanting to directly employ an Apprentice, Group Training is an excellent way to introduce new apprentices into your business without carrying the administration with the GTO employing and training the apprentice.

The host employer is a tradesperson who provides actual onsite training and as such pays the Group Training company a fee for the time that the apprentice spends onsite. There are advantages to this arrangement. For example some tradespeople want apprentices but do not want the responsibility of accruing or paying holiday pay, sick leave, and superannuation or training costs as such. Some tradesmen do not want the direct responsibility of overseeing the offsite training component and coordination of their apprentices to attend a local Training Provider (RTO), such as TAFESA, as part of the Certificate III completion. And some feel they may not have long term work and cannot sustain an apprentice for three to four years.

For apprentices it’s an alternative pathway to direct employment with a bricklayer, providing them instead with a ‘host’ employer while being employed by the GTO, in this case HIA. GTO vs RTO explained.

Tony Bishop
ABBTF Regional Manager North West

Source: HIA-Stratco South Australia Awards Apprentice Bricklayer 2017

There’s been another steep fall in the number of people doing apprenticeships | afr.com

by Robert Bolton

There’s been another steep fall in the number of people doing apprenticeships – although the government claims there are positive signs in the details.

At the end of September, there were 291,925 apprentices in training, that was 5.6 per cent fewer than at the same time in 2016. Trade apprenticeship commencements were down by 3.2 per cent year on year and non trade commencements down by 5.2 per cent. The government says although trade apprenticeships were down year on year, the quarter on quarter result shows an improvement of 4.2 per cent.

The Business Council of Australia, which has been pushing for an overhaul of the vocational sector said the apprenticeship system needs restoring.


Chief executive Jennifer Westacott said this meant restoring employer incentives, reducing unnecessary red tape and removing barriers that prevent employers from hiring apprentices.

“We need to get our act together and focus on the vocational system. We need transformational change so Australians can access education and training throughout their lives.

“Our tertiary system must be joined at the hip to industry. Without reform, we’ll lose new businesses and new activities to other countries.”

The chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, Innes Willox, said the overall trend continues a long-term slide in participation to the lowest level for a decade.



“The national level fell below 300,000 for the first time in September 2015. Since December 2015 the quarter levels of participation have ranged between the current figure of 262k and 285k.

“While there is improvement in some industry sectors, the overall levels of participation in this major training pathway continue to be a real concern to business and demonstrate the need for targeted and coordinated government invention.”

The minister for vocational education and skills Karen Andrews said the biggest single issue was raising vocational education and training as a good pathway for school leavers – since it has to compete against universities.

She said the overall decline showed the importance of the government’s $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund to arresting the slide. The fund was announced in 2017 and binds the states to match commonwealth spending. But so far no state government has committed to the agreement.


“The Federal Government has funding available right now for states and territories to sign up to the Skilling Australians Fund and submit projects so we can work together to address looming skills shortages in priority industries,” the minister said.

“The money hasn’t started to flow, states need to sign off on the agreement. There’s no reason why states can’t be putting proposals up to us”

But researcher Peter Noonan, from the Mitchell Institute, says more funding is not the issue.

He says the decline in apprenticeships reflects wider trends in the labor market. Employers are retaining existing skilled workers rather than putting on new ones.

“You can’t blame the decline on funding. Because the apprenticeships are fully funded. It’s more to do with general regard for skills training. There needs to be higher priority about skills training in the national conversation.”

He said the most alarming trend was community and personal service workers where training is down 7 per cent year on year and down 28 per cent compared to 2012.

“Ageing and child care are in demand and the accreditation system means people have got to be accredited. You would hope there would be more people coming through getting those qualifications.

TAFE directors said the Skilling Australians Fund may have come too late. CEO of TAFE Directors Australia Craig Robertson said the problem is employers were walking away from taking on apprentices because the system was too difficult to engage with.

“The Government has taken its eye off the ball by its sole focus on schools and universities and has forgotten about VET and the vast majority of working age Australians who need a strong robust VET system.”

Some sectors have shown especially sharp declines over the longer time frame – including Engineering, ICT and science technicians which are down nearly 70 per cent since 2012 and clerical trainees down 58 per cent.

Overall the current number of apprentices in training – at just under 262,000 compares to 443,000 in 2012.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/news/economy/employment/apprenticeships-continue-their-downward-slide-20180314-h0xg3y#ixzz5Ati8wikb
Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook


Source: Apprenticeships continue their downward slide | afr.com

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.

Waterproofing Course Being Held 19th – 21st February 2018 At Holden Hill

Our most popular short course on waterproofing will be held on 19/2/18 – 21/2/18 (8am – 3:30pm). This course covers off a practical application of waterproofing to internal wet areas and balconies. The Australian Standards and Building Code will be discussed. Representatives from waterproofing manufacturers will also be available to answer questions and discuss the use of their branded systems.

Click on this link to book online, or call us on 83675615.  The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) subsidies training for some existing building industry workers. To find out more visit citb.org.au. The cost of the course is $550 or $200 with CITB support.

Please note, this course alone will not qualify you to apply for a license – I get this questions all the time! You cannot become a waterproofer and certainly not a tiler based on a 3 day short course. On completion of the course, students will receive a Statement of Attendance. For people with other experience in waterproofing and/ or tiling, this can go towards your evidence to apply for a contractors license. If you have questions about licensing, please call us on 83675615.

Looking for an apprenticeship? Enrol in the Certificate II in Construction (CPC20112)

The Certificate II in Construction (CPC20112) is often referred to as a ‘Pre-apprenticeship’ course. This is because employers looking to hire apprentices frequently recruit current students and graduates. Our next course starts 30th January 2018. The course will focus developing hand skills across tiling, bricklaying and plastering.

If you have been considering becoming an apprentice, but you’re not sure which trade to focus on, this course will give you an insight into several different trades as well as basic concreting and scaffolding. You will also have the opportunity to work alongside existing apprentices to find out what working in the building industry is like.

The course is open to applicants over 16 years old. Government funding is available to most applicants via the State governments WorkReady programme. Students enrolled at High School who are over 16 can also complete the course under TGSS funding.

The goal of this course is to help students into work within the building and construction industry. We have employers who are currently looking to hire apprentices and during the course, you will have the opportunity to be placed into work experience. Employers are generally seeking people under 21 with a drivers license and vehicle. There are employers willing to consider adult apprentices, but they are much less common than junior apprenticeships. If you would like to know more, or have any questions please contact us on 8367 5615.