Michael’s the matchmaker in fitting apprentices with bricklayers

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Michael Taylor & Vehicle Shot (splash 2)

The fact that it makes good business sense to take on and train an apprentice is usually obvious to bricklayers keen to grow their business. However, it can also be time consuming and costly to take your eye off a busy work schedule. This is where Michael Taylor of the Vic ABBTF office can help.

ABBTF uses Seek and Gumtree websites to advertise apprenticeships on online, from which Michael receives at least five applicant resumes a week. However, before they are provided with a list of bricklayers seeking apprentices in their area they must pass an interview process with ABBTF. Some very basic but revealing questions are put to the prospects: “Can you get out of bed at 6am?”, “Are you willing to travel anywhere that your boss has work?”, “Its five degrees and raining and your boss tells you to chuck another batch in, what are you going to do?” These are just some examples, and of course there’s a discussion about work history and work ethic. If a candidate comes through the interview process satisfactorily, Michael will send them the list of potential employers and it’s up to the individual to make the contact.

Michael’s recruitment role doesn’t stop there. He phones all potential apprentices weekly to check on their progress in bricklaying apprenticeship hunting and mentors them through the process of making the calls and asking the right questions.

As Michael says some cases call for extra measures.

“Recently we had a young man in a regional area who was keen as mustard to start an apprenticeship. He is currently undertaking a pre-apprenticeship course while at school but he knows bricklaying is his future. After interviewing him and finding out that he gets up before school and opens up the local bakery I knew this kid has the drive to go far in this industry.”

In this individual’s case, however, the problem was that the closest employer registered as looking for a new apprentice was over 200kms away! The team at ABBTF knew something extra needed to be done. A mobile phone message campaign (or more like an SOS campaign!) was put out to all past and present employers in the region. It reached 105 brickies and within literally 30 seconds an employer called from the next suburb, very keen to take him on. “I have spoken to both parties since and the young future brickie started that following Monday, said a delighted Michael”.

The interview process doesn’t end with the potential apprentices. All employers who ask ABBTF assistance with finding a new apprentice are also interviewed. We put the hard yards in vetting potential apprentices so we want to make sure they are being matched with the same calibre of employers. This gives us a better understanding of their business and who would be best suited to them and a point of contact for either party to call the ABBTF for assistance, etc. There can be a lot involved in managing young apprentices.

Many Vic bricklayers would know Michael from site visits or calls from our office. If you see him pull up, don’t be surprised if he has his own trowel on him and wants to help – being a qualified bricklayer he’s always keen to put a few down!

For Easy Wage information visit ALinks “NEW’ site www.alinktoolbox.org.au this is just what you brickies have been looking for. Alternatively visit FairWork and use the PayCheckPlus calculator.  The applicable award is Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010 (MA000020).


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