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Bricklaying Apprentice

PATRICK LITHGOW is a first year bricklaying apprentice at Holmesglen TAFE.

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?
I realised when I was at school that school isn’t really for everyone. I was a more hands on sort of person ... I just seemed to have a natural knack for bricklaying, so I thought a trade would be a good thing for me.

You also did a pre-apprenticeship. How did that help prepare you for being a full-blown apprentice?
I’d say it teaches you all the basic skills and what you definitely need to know. I‘d say without a preapprenticeship,I’d be a lot more lost and a lot more confused, whereas having a pre-apprenticeship on my side, it really sort of gave me an edge on other apprentices.

As a bricklaying apprentice, what kind of things do you learn?
In my apprenticeship I’ve learned lots of different skills. I’ve learned a lot of measuring and mathematical skills, a lot of hands-on skills, and a lot of different techniques with bricklaying... Working on a building site you also pick up a lot of the skills that the other tradespeople do, so you don’t just learn the one trade, you get a lot of experience in all sorts of trades.

What are the benefits of doing an apprenticeship?
Financially it’s pretty good because there’s a lot of government incentives and a lot of Tools For Your Trade allowances, but also it teaches you a skill; a lot of people work in offices and they can’t exactly take that skill home with them, whereas, as a tradesperson, you can take that skill home with you and you can build your neighbours fence, you can build your own home. The options are really limitless.