A national bricklaying apprenticeship subsidy scheme has successfully boosted the number of apprentices taking up the trade.

In a move designed to overcome the cost of employing an apprentice bricklayer, the national industry subsidy scheme was launched this year by the Australian Brick and Blocklaying Foundation .

The scheme allows for a subsidy of $6,000, over the term of the apprenticeship, to bricklayers directly employing apprentices.

“We are delighted with the results of the subsidy, in the short time it has been operating, with 637 apprentices being supported compared to 343 a year ago. That’s an increase of 85 per cent.” said Geoff Noble, Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation’s general manager.

According to Noble, subsidies are also available to bricklaying employers through Group Training Companies to reduce charge out rates to host employers, making it more viable to employ bricklaying apprentices.

“In addition to the Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation’s $6,000 there is Federal Government support of $4,000 as well as a variety of state subsidies which vary from state to state.

“The subsidy is available in every state and the ACT and we already have 61 Group Training Companies who have signed up under the scheme. We expect to be able to increase apprenticeship numbers even further over the next twelve months.” said Geoff Noble.

The Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation (ABBTF) was formed to not only attract more bricklaying apprentices, but to also promote bricklaying as a career path.

The Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation’s apprenticeship schemes are jointly funded by brick and block manufacturers and their customers at a rate of $2.00 per thousand clay bricks and 10 cents per square metre in the wall for concrete masonry.

Conditions apply to the apprenticeship subsidies and the Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation people can help prospective employers with information to assist with applications for funding apprentices.

“Thanks to our pre-entry training programs in conjunction with TAFE colleges, which provide work ready skills, today’s new apprentices are valuable contributors to the team.

“We have lifted the bar to attract a new generation of young people who are keen to build a worthwhile career in bricklaying to take over from those who will leave the trade in the near future.

“Now is the time to lift the number of apprentices in training otherwise we will have severe skills shortages in the future.” Geoff continued.