NEWS: National 2014

Sam Spong – Australia’s Top WorldSkills Bricklayer



ABBTF is delighted to report that Sam Spong from New Berrima, NSW has won the coveted Gold Medal in bricklaying at the National WorldSkills competition held in Perth WA in September 2014. Sam, who has just completed his apprenticeship, was a clear winner with the very impressive result of 80.34 percentage points on a project that fully tested a talented field of 14 bricklaying regional winner apprentices.

sam-spong-wallThe Silver Medal went to 23 year old Matthew Cheso (with a score of 76.77 points) from Murray Bridge in SA. Matt, who has now completed his apprenticeship, had previously won the Gun Trowel speed competition at the Nationals in 2012. Nicholas Coci from Carabooda, WA, completely new to the National competition, won the Bronze Medal (with 75.06 points) as well as the ABBTF Gun Trowel speed test. Well done to all winners.

Competitors from all States and the ACT earned the right to compete in the event having won their own regional WorldSkills Australia bricklaying competition.

The project for the competition was a real test of skills and competence from the young award aspirants. It involved building a wall featuring the year of the competition (2014), the trowel and the host state (illustrated by the Black Swan and WA) in the assignment wall.

Sam had prepared thoroughly for the competition having already been through the rigours of competing at the Nationals in 2012. Sam loves the challenge of pitting himself against the rest in competition. He has just completed his apprenticeship with L&E McMahon Bricklaying and had trained at Illawarra TAFE in Wollongong. He tells ABBTF that his mentors are his boss and his uncle Chris. “They both have a good lifestyle from the trade and a sound work ethic”.


ABBTF encourages all bricklayers and their apprentices to get involved in Regional competitions in your State and be part of this opportunity to grow your skills and business reputation while having a really great time. Call your State ABBTF office for information.

Congratulations Sam, Matt and Nick on your outstanding performances!


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A Name to Watch: Nicholas Coci – Fastest Trowel and Bronze Medal Winner

nicolas cociWatch out for 18 year old, third year apprentice Nicholas Coci! Nick, from Carabooda WA who won the ABBTF Gun Trowel speed test at the National WorldSkills competition in Perth in September, in addition to the Bronze Medal in the main event!

The speed competition involves building a four brick pier in a spiral pattern with red and cream bricks in 15 minutes.

Nick took out the trophy with his pier being judged the best in terms of line, level and plumb, as well as height. He was presented with a Golden Trowel engraved with the title of the fastest trowel – no mean feat for an 18 year old.

This signature event for Bricklaying drew a large crowd with many people arriving early to get a vantage point. The atmosphere was electric with the expectant crowd and the introduction of each young bricklayer vying for fastest trowel in Australia. The field of anxious competitors held their trowels in the air in readiness for the start.

The crowd watched on as each brick pier grew with bricks and mortar flying high. Loris Moriconi from ABN Apprentices called the event and conducted the final countdown to the 15 minute time limit.

ABBTF was inspired to create and include the Gun Trowel speed test in its regular National WorldSkills event because of its excitement and the opportunity to test another skill of the trade. It has gathered fame and popularity as a real crowd pleaser at national competitions with some other trades attempting similar events.

Congratulations Nick for being the fastest gun in the West – not to mention national Gun Trowel winner and WorldSkills Bricklaying Bronze Medal winner!


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ABBTF Scholarship Aims at International Success in Brazil in 2015


worldclass-logoABBTF has established a scholarship to provide support for the WorldSkills Australia bricklaying competitor in the quest for success at the international WorldSkills competition in Brazil in 2015.

The ABBTF World Class bricklaying Development Scholarship was launched with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between ABBTF and WorldSkills Australia earlier this year.

The goal of the Scholarship is to provide support for the Bricklaying Skillaroo, which will allow him to achieve the highest possible level of skill to compete successfully against competitors from other countries at the international competition.

The World Class bricklaying Development Scholarship provides support including:

  • Training time and coaching
  • Support to compete at lead-up competitions
  • Mentoring support
  • Personal and professional development
  • Engaging a sports psychologist
  • Tools and equipment.

The winner of the national competition, Sam Spong, has been nominated to represent Australia in Brazil in 2015. We wait on his confirmation as a Skillaroo which will enable his preparation to be supported by the ABBTF Scholarship.


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The Contest for Australia’s Top Apprentice Bricklayer is about to Begin

troy-everett“We are now into the final days of preparations for the national WorldSkills competition and so all the young bricklayers competing in Perth September 18-20 are putting the finishing touches to their training so they will produce their best. This usually involves experimenting with different methods of construction in order to save time but maintain the quality of work. Each competitor coming to Perth would by now have a reasonably good idea of how long it takes him to construct all the projects and would have realised that they are going to be pressed for time to complete all the work in 18 hours.

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