Looking for an apprenticeship? Next Pre-apprentice course starts 7th February


We currently have Bricklayers and Tilers looking to hire apprentices. They are after ‘work ready’ apprentices, people who have some basic skills and are aware of what working in the building industry is like. The Certificate II in Construction (CPC20112) is an excellent course that provides students with an introduction to the following trades:

  • Bricklaying (2 employers currently looking for apprentices as of 31/1/2017
  • Tiling (4 tilers looking for apprentices as of 31/1/2017)
  • Plastering (labourers positions appearing regularly on gumtree)
  • Concreting (2 employers seeking labourers)
  • Scaffolding – up to 4metres (shortage of scaffolders in Adelaide – especially around festival/ major event times)

Employers contact us directly looking for students to recommend. We also check adverts for jobs every morning and have close industry ties to give students extra guidance. Applicants will have the opportunity to see other pre-apprentices in action on the trade floor. Students will be working side by side with existing apprentices so they can discuss the industry, find out what life as a tradie is like, and see how over time how their skills develop.

If you are interested in applying, please email admin@fcta.com.au or call 8367 5615.

Six lessons from the worst bullying cases in Australia


By Michael Mead, Head of Workplace Relations Consulting Services, Ai Group

For a nation that prides itself on a right to a ‘fair go’, Australia has an arguably embarrassing record when it comes to bullying in the workplace.

According to research by the University of South Australia, when compared to 31 European countries, Australia ranked sixth highest for workplace bullying, with seven per cent of Australian workers reporting instances of bullying at work in the six months prior to the study’s publication.

Workplace bullying can have a devastating impact on its victims – something that’s now being reflected in the consequences negligent employers can potentially face. In the past year, judgements handed down around the country have resulted in damages in bullying cases being paid in hundreds of thousands of dollars – not to mention a new law in Victoria providing for up to 10 years imprisonment for serious bullying. The incentives for businesses to create firm anti-bullying policies have never been greater.

More: Watch Ai Group’s webinar ‘Boss or bully’ on giving constructive feedback and correctly handling negative performance reviews.

In safeguarding your own workplace against a potentially expensive bullying claim, what can you learn from some of Australia’s worst bullies?

Lesson 1: Never ignore complaints of bullying

Whether or not you believe there is any merit in a bullying complaint, it is never wise to dismiss it out of hand without proper investigation.

Take the case of a worker who was promoted to a new role by her employer ahead of her former manager. In team meetings, she was openly demeaned and denigrated, before being excluded from a meeting called specifically to undermine her.

Despite her complaints, her supervisor resisted measures to address the situation, dismissing her reaction as “groundless and obtuse”. The Supreme Court of NSW disagreed, finding her employer had been “negligently passive” in its response to her requests for help over two years, confirming on appeal an award of almost $340,000for psychiatric injury.

Lesson 2: Ensure your managers are trained in complaint handling procedures

Over a two-year period, a female labourer was shown pornographic material, slapped on the bottom, grabbed from behind, had a sex act simulated on her and told by a male colleague that he would follow her home.

In such a situation, the woman should have been able to turn to a capable manager aware of his responsibilities – but when she did complain, her supervisor responded by laughing. While eventually moved to a different area for nine months, she was inexplicably returned and the previous behaviours resumed.

The Supreme Court of Victoria accepted she was unlikely to ever work again as a result of her treatment and the severe psychiatric condition it left her with, imposing $1.36 million in damages.

Lesson 3: Ensure your employees know how to raise a complaint

Employers have a duty of care to their employees in ensuring a safe working environment. An important part of that duty is making sure your staff know what to do when they are subject to, or witness, bullying in the workplace.

If a security guard, subjected to extensive bullying at the hands of his manager over a five-year period, had been afforded such assistance from his fellow employees – who witnessed the poor conduct – he may have been saved from years of abuse, and his employers may have avoided the imposition of almost $2 million in damages.

Lesson 4: Promptly take action

A female sales assistant worked in a university law book shop, alone with a single male supervisor who habitually subjected her to “sarcasm, hostility and rudeness” – culminating in an incident in which he violently threw a book at her.

The sales assistant brought the behaviour to the attention of the board, which promised to take measures to improve the situation, but failed to follow through – a pattern that subsequently continued across a further five years of torment.

Eventually succumbing to a major depressive and anxiety disorder that rendered her indefinitely unfit for work, the sales assistant was awarded more than $290,000 by theSupreme Court of Victoria for loss of past and future earnings, along with $300,000 in damages.

Lesson 5: Do not tolerate bad behaviour

Brodie Panlock was a 19-year-old café worker who suffered bullying six days a week for more than a year. She was spat upon and derided for her appearance, held down by her workmates, was teased about a failed suicide bid, and had rat poison left in her pay envelope, with encouragement to succeed in her next attempt at suicide.

The owner of the business was not only aware of some aspects of the bullying, but was present on occasions and sometimes condoned it.

Brodie eventually did take her own life, leading to the prosecution of her employer – who was personally fined $30,000, together with a $220,000 fine for his company – and the three responsible employees, who received fines ranging from $10,000 to $45,000.

Brodie’s enduring legacy is Victoria’s anti-bullying legislation, known as Brodie’s Law – making bullying punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Lesson 6: Be confident and reasonable in performance management

 Ai Group’s members are telling us that their managers are increasingly reluctant to manage performance issues for fear of being accused of bullying.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has clarified that in the context of performance management – as distinct from ‘bullying’ – management actions do not need to be perfect to be considered ‘reasonable’. Offer a clear performance improvement policy to give assurance to workers about the process that should be followed and to give managers the confidence to manage.

The FWC has also indicated what ‘unreasonable’ management action might look like. In one recent case subject to an anti-bullying order, the unreasonable actions included: issuing a warning to an employee without having raised the concerns with him and considering his response; publicly humiliating the worker in front of clients; sending him a text message late at night and requesting him to respond at a meeting the next morning; and then not attending that meeting.

AI GROUP |

Young tradies exposed today will be old men before knowing if they’ve contracted asbestos-related disease


As Australia’s asbestos scandal grows, take action before it kills more workers

By Angelique Donnellan Updated yesterday at 4:49pm Originally published: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-24/asbestos-action-needed-before-it-kills-more-workers/7781364

The discovery of asbestos in imported building products in Adelaide at the start of the year was described as potentially “the tip of the iceberg” by the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA).

In the few months since then there’s been another case in Adelaide, as well as Brisbane and Perth.

Now, with the announcement of asbestos-tainted products in the $563 million Port Pirie smelter redevelopment, ASEA’s fears appear well founded.

It’s unclear how many workers connected to any of these projects may have come into contact with the deadly substance, if at all.

But asbestos kills silently and slowly.

Any young tradies exposed today are likely to be old men before they know whether they’ve contracted an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma.

These are the cases we know of. We will never know just how much foreign asbestos is in the country undetected and will remain hidden.

It shouldn’t have come to this. Imports of asbestos were banned in 2003. The fact it is here means either the laws aren’t being enforced, or they are being deliberately flouted.

With the wind down in Australian manufacturing, coupled with the cheaper availability of foreign products, building companies are increasingly sourcing materials from China.

China’s different standards creating confusion

In China asbestos isn’t illegal, in fact it’s accepted that “asbestos free” products can still contain up to 5 per cent chysotile or white asbestos.

An Australian company might be told what they’re buying is “asbestos free” — and it is by Chinese standards — but not ours.

Australian Border Force (ABF) told me about the differing standards, suggesting that educating Chinese manufacturers was a key part of stopping the flow of asbestos-contaminated building products into this country.

It’s definitely a good idea, but the ABF needs to take responsibility for its failings.

As senator Nick Xenophon put it: the ABF can stop asylum seeker boats, why can’t they stop the boats with asbestos?

Critics say the authority has relied too heavily on “asbestos free” certifications. The ABF has conceded only a fraction of shipments were tested for asbestos at the border last year.

Just over 100 actually. Some asbestos advocates and union figures are calling for mandatory testing of all building products from China by a reputable laboratory. It might not be a bad start.

The ABF says each shipment undergoes a “risk assessment”, but again critics point out if that were working, there wouldn’t be this influx of asbestos.

Then there’s the role of the Australian importers.

ABF says it is difficult to prosecute companies that are unknowingly bringing in tainted product. Nevertheless, it’s arguable those companies need to be far more active in ensuring they are not doing so.

Stronger penalties would help encourage due diligence and testing before importing so-called “asbestos free” products from China and other suspect nations.

Of course it may be that some companies are knowingly importing asbestos into Australia. They should be held fully accountable.

The other question is whether the Federal Government is taking the issue seriously enough. The James Hardie era and fight put up by Bernie Banton and other asbestos disease sufferers seems like a distant memory.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has blamed the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) for forcing up building costs and driving Australian companies to “cut corners” by importing cheap Chinese materials.

The point of Senator Xenophon’s “stop the asbestos boats” remark was it’s the Government that ultimately dictates the priorities of Australian policy, and it’s not giving the deadly material appropriate attention.

The Asbestos Eradication and Safety Agency predicts there will be 19,400 new cases of mesothelioma in Australia by the end of the century.

Legacy asbestos, which is a term used for the now extinct local industry, is the main culprit for that.

It will take decades to tell whether any death or disease will be caused by this new wave of foreign asbestos.

Time will tell, but of course for victims of asbestos as always, it will be too late.

The WorkReady A-Z About Apprentices


The SA Government has put together a detailed booklet about all things relating to apprenticeships. Everything from what an apprentice is, to the ratio of supervisors to apprentices required can be found by clicking this link to the WorkReady website. This is an excellent resource for people who are considering hiring an apprentice.

For information about wages read our post for a summary and contact FairWork to confirm.

For information about incentives, read our updated post

This would be great in SA: Discount vehicle registration for Victorian trade apprentices to help boost training completion rates


Half-price vehicle registration for apprentices in construction trades will be introduced by the Victorian Government in the hope it will help them finish their training.

The discount will be introduced on January 1 next year, saving apprentices about $385 a year.

Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said the discount was among a series of measures to encourage apprentices to complete their training.

“It’s just one of those incentives we’re trying to provide to … encourage people to do trades firstly, but also … to try and deal with those low completion rates,” he said.

“This is is just one of a suite of actions … we’re trying to undertake to get people to finish their apprenticeships.

“We’re going to need a greater mass of young people finishing their trades in the construction sector due to the work we’ve got going in terms of Melbourne Metro, level crossings, in terms of road construction.

“So it’s very much about being proactive as we roll these projects out, we actually have the skill-base to actually complete the projects.”

An auditor-general report released last year found despite a big increase in government spending, the completion rate for apprenticeships in Victoria had not improved.

It found that in the 10 years to 2014, a third of people who started a traineeship did not complete it.

Mr Donnellan said the Government was looking into current payment methods for registration in general, and whether bi-annual or quarterly billing could be introduced.

“I think any lump sum cost for individuals on limited incomes is difficult to make,” he said.

Originally published: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-12/discount-vehicle-registration-for-victorian-apprentices/6933766

Unique Student Identifier – New Government Requirement To Study


 

HAVE YOU GOT YOUR UNIQUE STUDENT IDENTIFIER (USI) NUMBER?

From 1 January 2015 all students will be required to have a USI, because…government. This is a requirement for all courses, including the White Card and Contractors Licence courses.

It’s easy…follow these 6 simple steps

STEP 1: Have at least one form of ID ready: Driver’s License, Australian Passport, Medicare Card, Birth Certificate, Visa (with non-Australian Passport), Immigration Card or Citizenship Certificate.

STEP 2: Have your personal contact details ready: Address, email and/or phone number.

STEP 3: Visit usi.gov.au and click on ‘Create a USI’.

STEP 4: Agree to the terms and conditions and follow the steps.

STEP 5: Write your unique number down and keep it somewhere handy and safe.

STEP 6: Bring this number with you when you enrol.

Apprentice Pay Increase Information


Pay increases for new apprentices kick in from 01/01/2014. New apprentices will be paid on average an extra $45 – $145 per week extra. These increases do not apply straight away to existing apprentices. Employers thinking of employing an apprentice would be able to employ an apprentice under existing conditions if employed before 01/01/2014. Further, employers are now required to reimburse apprentices for trade school fees and material/ book costs.

Apprentice Projects


FCTA offers flexible timing to apprentices, that means if a job gets rained out, apprentices can be sent into trade school to complete projects that go towards their Certificate III.

This week we have a number of students in completing tasks in tiling and solid plastering.

Caleb building a brick pier

Angela is a school based apprentice, here she is cutting tiles for a project

Angela working on a semi-circular arch with infill

Dylan preparing mix for Solid Plastering project