Students from District High Schools in the wheatbelt had an opportunity to experience bricklaying as a trade recently.

The 10 students from Kellerberrin, Quairading and Wongan Hills lived in for a week at WA College of Agriculture ¨C Cunderdin where a bricklaying instructor from Swan College of TAFE, Stan Bowie, conducted the workshop sponsored by the Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation.

State Development Manager from the Foundation, Dean Pearson, said the building industry was desperately short of young people entering the industry. ¡®Step Out¡¯ courses such as the one at Cunderdin were being run in an effort to attract more to take up the trade, he said.

¡°Most of the bricklayers currently working in the building industry are 45 to 55 years of age and we desperately need young people to replace them. ¡°An excellent opportunity exists for students looking to completing a trade qualification in the building industry. ¡°A bricklaying qualification allows them to run a small business, become a builder or to take up other rewarding roles in building and construction,¡± Dean said.

The Foundation provided some financial support for pre-apprentices and VET students working towards a bricklaying apprenticeship. Money came from a levy on the sale of bricks, he said.

Design and Technology teacher who helped set up the Step Out course at Cunderdin, Allan Jones, said brick and slab laying would be included as an element in the general construction course at the College next year. The Step Out course would also be repeated.

Lindsay McNeill

TOP RIGHT: Students in the ¡®Step Out¡¯ bricklaying course at WA College of Agriculture ¨C Cunderdin put their new skills into practice building a loading ramp at the college.

MIDDLE: During and bricklaying exercise (L-R) Roy Slater (Quairading), instructor, Stan Bowie (in background) with Chris Hancock and Brody Harrison (Kellerberrin).

BOTTOM: Taking a break at the bricklaying course (L-R) Brad Hopkinson (Wongan Hills), Scott Pengel and Dylyn Ball (Kellerberrin) and ABBTF state development manager, Dean Pearson.