Employer Recruitment Stories — Brick Laying

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I’m Jonathon Davis, I’m from CTR Pacific, we’re a commercial bricklaying company with about 40 employees. We have five all up — three — two first years, two third years, and one second year.

We have a few through group train, a few through ASBAH as well, which is school-based apprenticeship, um, and then we’ve also tried to upskill labourers that maybe want to try an apprenticeship. We have two of those at the moment who are experienced labourers that are doing an apprenticeship. Well they will all come up here. I generally ask them first up just about who they are as a person, if they’ve got family, friends, what they do outside of school or work, um, see what they want to get out of the actual apprenticeship — do they just want to be a tradesman, do they want to move forward, do they want to branch off, work for themselves, that sort of stuff.

And then yeah, down to simple generic sort of question, you know, yeah, that get asked for any job role, really. Well obviously you need to have a work ethic, you need to not be afraid of hard work, because it is a very physical job, and not the highest paying job, so, you wanna, you need to wanna do it, you don’t wanna just do it for the sake of, I want a trade behind me, I want to do this — you actually have to want to do it. If you don’t want to do it, you’re just going to waste your time, and you’ll never actually… gonna enjoy it or get anything out of it, sort of thing, so. That, obviously punctuality, that sort of thing, good work ethic, take orders — not orders, but instructions, um… yeah, that’s about — there’s a few, but that’s the standard ones, sort of thing, so… Yeah. I would, what I tell a lot of guys who haven’t done any manual labour before to actually go do labouring.

Try labouring for three months, and try it out and see if you like it, because at least then you’re going to get good money, and if you don’t like it you haven’t lost any money, whereas if you go straight into an apprenticeship, you’re gonna get not a lot of money, and you might waste three months to three years of your life for no good reason. So always try and get them to do the labouring first, see if they enjoy it and want to do it, and then go from there with the apprenticeship.

Essentially you can train them how you want them to work. If you hire someone who’s had ten years experience, they’ve already learned maybe bad habits, and to change that is pretty hard when they’re a 30-year-old, 40-year-old, 50-year-old. But if you can get them straight out of school or as an ex-labourer, you can train them how you think they should be trained in the best, sort of, way to do things, in my opinion, so.

How’d I get into the trade? Just essentially out of school, hadn’t worked for a couple of months, and there was a job vacancy at NBA for bricklayers, I applied, the next day I was on site. On a brick saw! And that was it. I was on brick saw for about a year before I even got to do anything else — that was it, brick sawing labour, and then… and that’s another sort of reason why I try to train my apprentices a bit better because I probably didn’t get a very good apprenticeship — I laboured for three years and only at the very end did I get to lay bricks. I try to change that when I actually train bricklayers.

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