The Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation (ABBTF) has been once again approved by the ACCC to continue its work in providing skilled bricklayers and blocklayers for the construction industry.

The ACCC approval followed a public consultative process across the building and construction industry to re-assess the benefits delivered by ABBTF programs; ACCC concluded that the program provided a public benefit by way of increasing the supply of skilled bricklayers and reducing the delays in construction times.

Welcoming the decision, ABBTF’s Chief Executive Officer Geoff Noble said the endorsement of the program confirmed its efficacy in recruiting more bricklaying apprentices, raising the profile of bricklaying, and improving the skills base of the industry.

One of the key strategies of the program is a subsidy of $3,000 provided to employers to encourage them to take on apprentices. This is topped up by a further $4,000 from the Federal Government and Industry Training Board support in some States. ABBTF has also applied more resources to recruiting quality candidates for apprenticeships to satisfy the urgent need to fill the 150 vacancies registered with ABBTF across the States.

To attract the right young people to the trade, ABBTF has also developed highly effective social media platforms with its two websites, ABBTF and Become a Bricklayer together attracting over 8,000 visits per month alongside a national ABBTF Facebook page with nearly 8,000 fans following bricklaying as a career prospect.

ABBTF’s Step Out Program and Try-a-Trade events for secondary school students aim to give a hands-on bricklaying experience to young people; almost 13,000 students have participated in these taster programs over the past five years.

According to Mr Noble, ABBTF is focussed on raising awareness of bricklaying as a career and the opportunities it provides for career development in the construction industry. He adds that there are many success stories where bricklaying apprentices have gone on to start their own bricklaying businesses, or become builders, project managers and even captains of industry.

ABBTF also welcomed the recent Federal Government decision to allow skilled bricklayers to migrate on permanent visas to Australia, which will supplement the Foundation’s efforts to build a skilled workforce for the construction industry.