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10 October 2016

Career Corner - Jose, Apprentice Bricklayer


We caught up with Jose Witts, a third year bricklaying apprentice with the ABN Group. We wanted to find out more about his apprenticeship so far and his career goals!

Tell us about your role as a 3rd year apprentice bricklayer with the ABN Group:

A general day includes setting up the site in a morning with profiles, braces, mud board stands, mud boards and string lines. We set up the mixer, mix mud and lay bricks for internal and external (face) walls. We have to clean our tools and the site at the end of the day and ensure everything is secure when we leave site for the day. We also have to ensure there is minimal wastage of materials.

We do set outs at the start of a job which involves using the site plans to mark out the lines where the bricks will be laid, and then laying two courses of bricks around the entire house and garage, leaving the correct spacing for any windows and doors. The set out needs to be exact to ensure the rooms are the right size! We then have a person come in to lay mesh to prevent termites penetrating the walls before continuing to build everything up to the full height.

What does your offsite leaning involve?

I have recently completed all of my TAFE units; it was really enjoyable to learn from the lecturers there and new ways to do things. We also worked on decorative pieces and projects requiring a great level of detail which was great to learn something new. TAFE is a good opportunity to meet people in the industry from other apprentices to lecturers.

How did you get into your apprenticeship?

I first tried bricklaying when I was still at school and worked as a labourer for a family friend. I then tried a few different jobs before I decided I really wanted to complete an apprenticeship in bricklaying. For me it was a positive going into a three year apprenticeship as a mature age student as I knew it was something I wanted to do and gave me the motivation to work hard to complete it. A friend recommended ABN Group and after contacting them and having an interview I was offered a bricklaying apprenticeship with Homebuyers Centre and started in 2014.

What are your goals for your future career?

I'm very close to qualifying and will work on site for a while to build up my experience as a qualified tradie. I would then really like to train as a site supervisor and have an overview of the entire building process. I find this really interesting when I chat to supervisors on site and enjoy learning more about every aspect of a build and bringing all the trades and materials together at the right time and to the right standard.

What do you enjoy about being involved in the WA construction industry?

It's great being involved in the WA construction industry because it's really rewarding to see the finished product of a hour that you have built and you know it will be there for many years to come. Also there are a lot of different pathways you can take in the construction industry, with plenty of opportunities and skills that can be picked up along the way.

What are the highlights of your career so far?

Last year I won the ABN Group, Homebuyers Centre and Master Builders Award for Most Improved Apprentice. I was really happy as I had pushed myself to learn as much as I could and improve the way I work, and I was rewarded for it! My photo is also in the new ABN corporate brochure which was fun to see.

I also got to build my own house as a second year apprentice which was a pretty amazing experience - it has given me a great perspective when I build houses, I work on each of them as if they were my own as I understand the cost, time and excitement that goes into the process of choosing a home and seeing it rise from the ground!

Finally, what are your interests out of work?

I head down south with my fiancé at every opportunity we can, I love the relaxed atmosphere and the beaches down there.

I also enjoy working on our house, creating new things such as planter boxes; it's a fun project to see it all come together. I also go to the gym regularly which helps me stay fit for work!


03 October 2016

Did You Know - Perth Town Hall

Did you know Perth Town Hall commenced construction in 1867 and opened on 1st June 1870 - Foundation Day.

The bricks were from East Perth clay pits and were laid using Flemish bond. It is estimated there were 15 mechanics and 19 labourers (convicts and free) working on the hall daily for three years. Over a million bricks were used!

It is the only town hall in Australia that was built using convict labour.

Images courtesy of the State Library of WA (b3983423 & b1996488)