PROTECTING THE MASONRY MARKET
GAINING MARKET SHARE starts with the training of quality staff. If we don’t grow our skilled workforce then our business and profitability will continually erode. For our industry to prosper it is imperative that we protect our market share by ensuring a sustainable training and recruitment program.
Contractors are looking for bricklayers that are well skilled with the dedication to the trade that the older generations exhibited. Of course, they also want to know who can solve the problem.
We believe each contractor must challenge themselves to solve our labour problems.
- When was the last time you went to a local school to talk to students about careers in masonry?
- When was the last time you helped train an apprentice?
- When was the last time you visited a local training program?
As a contractor, you are the key to the puzzle.
Most areas in Australia are experiencing a shortage of labour resources with regard to the construction industry in general. The masonry industry is no exception. The following are just some of the many reasons for this shortage:
- Experienced bricklayers retiring
- More attractive careers promoted in the technology arena
- Over reliance on throwing good money after bad in an attempt to solve the industry’s resourcing problems
- An attitude that someone else should solve the problem.
Currently, contractors are in desperate need of tradespeople. The demand for skilled labour far exceeds the supply to fill that demand. The industry is retiring more bricklayers than training new ones to replace them.
The one common denominator missing from most programs and the one critical component missing from a successful recruitment and training program is the aggressive involvement and commitment by contractors.
CONTRACTOR INVOLVEMENT AND COMMITMENT
What exactly is meant by contractor involvement and commitment? Too often, contractors complain about the amount of skilled workers available to hire, the quality of their skills and the bricklayer’s dedication to the trade.
But when faced with solutions to their shortfall in the labour force, contractors have always looked to someone else to solve the problem.
We have developed a “welfare state” in the industry … the attitude that I don’t have to recruit, someone else will take care of it … it’s not my job!
Commitment and involvement means total dedication and commitment of time, energy and resources on the part of all contractors to recruit and train the industry’s workforce. This commitment and involvement is the only solution to our long-term needs.
Contractors must become involved in:
- Committing time to recruitment and training activities
- Serving on an association or apprenticeship committee
- The decision processes of reviewing and selecting curriculum and training
- Periodically attending apprenticeship classes
- Hiring only quality apprentices
- Attending career days
- Attending pre-apprentice programs
Before you can train quality staff, you have to find young people interested in becoming quality tradepeople, which is the most difficult task facing the industry for many contractors.
The masonry industry’s image of dirty hard work in harsh weather conditions makes it difficult to appeal to young workers who are often computer and high-tech oriented.
Building a well skilled, ample workforce will not happen overnight. It will take years of image building, education and effort to attract the workforce the industry needs, and it’s the contractors who must commit themselves to recruiting. Commitment to attend at least one career day by every contractor every school semester.
It is our job to make people want to work with our company.