The Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation (ABBTF) have recently launched the Brickstart Bonus. The Brickstart Bonus offers a $2,000 payment to brick and blocklaying employers who take on apprentices by 30 June 2010. The scheme has been released in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland.

The bonus of $2,000 is payable on completion of the first year and applies for new apprentices who start before 30 June 2010. This payment is additional to the $6,000 subsidy the ABBTF already provides for each apprentice employed.

According to Geoff Noble, ABBTF's general manager, the Brickstart Bonus follows on from the expiry of the Federal Government’s recent Kickstart Bonus, which finished at the end of February.

"We wanted to give employers a special incentive to take on apprentices and additionally we are making it available for apprentices of all ages which will make it easier to find suitable candidates. The Federal Government's Kickstart Bonus only applied for apprentices to up to 19 years only.

"So if you add up the new bonus of $2,000 and the normal ABBTF subsidy of $6,000 plus the Federal Governments’ continuing subsidy of $4,000 it means a total of $12,000 is available for employers to take on an apprentice.

"The extra funding is timely, with construction activity starting to really take off. This will increase the demand for construction trades people for residential and commercial projects and will create a crisis with a shortage of bricklayers. To make matters worse we have an aging bricklaying work force which will mean many are likely to leave the trade over the next couple of years," said Geoff Noble.

"It is important for more people to be brought into the trade and that is why we have introduced the Kickstart Bonus of $2,000 and made it available for all ages. There are people who make career changes and some will welcome the opportunity of taking up bricklaying as a career.

"We are experiencing greater recognition of the career path that bricklaying can offer to become a builder supervisor, run your own business and many other construction industry positions. Our research tells us that bricklayers enjoy the freedom and the outdoor life the trade provides and a great opportunity to earn money from day one."Geoff Noble added.

Geoff Noble concluded by saying that the ABBTF can assist with linking up prospective bricklaying apprentices with employers as they have a close liaison with trade training centres and the industry. He continued to say that employers will find their productivity will improve with the addition of apprentices and will offer young people the chance they got when they first started out.

Further information regarding the Brickstart Bonus is available from the ABBTF website.