Bricklayers are in demand, with experts saying the profession enjoys a far greater sense of pride and accomplishment than that of other construction trades.
The Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation has experienced a 63 per cent increase in the number of people signing up to bricklaying apprenticeships this year – with South Australia recording a 113 per cent increase – amid reports salaries of more than $100,000 are being offered to qualified brickies to stem worker shortages.
But it is still not enough to meet demand for labour, which has been exacerbated by the recent Homebuilder incentive scheme, says ABBTF chief executive Michael Morrissey.
“There’s endless demand for bricklayers,” he says.
“You don’t see an unemployed brickie ever.
Many also use the trade as a stepping stone to start their own business, work as a subcontractor or move into a construction management role.
“You can become a subbie very easily because you don’t need a van full of electrical or carpentry tools (like an electrician or carpenter) – you just need your own (cement) mixer and your trowel and you can get started,’’ Morrissey says.
FCTA – Building Careers chief executive Trisch Baff says bricklaying is often forgotten by those contemplating a construction career, despite its importance to the industry.
“There’s a hierarchy – when it comes to thinking about doing a trade, people think more about carpentry, or they will consider things like electrical and plumbing,” she says.
“But, as far as the trade (industry) goes, basically carpenters and bricklayers are the only two trades that know how to build a house from the ground up.”
John Tonkin, 20, started a bricklaying apprenticeship earlier this year and says the opportunities have been amazing.
“It’s a lot more complex than people think and it’s hard yakka,’’ he says.
“But it’s very rewarding to watch the houses go up and the people I’ve met on (job) sites will be mates for life.’’
September 29, 2021 – 4:30AM, News Corp Australia Network