Australia failing apprentices – its a problem

Hi, I am Matt, The Travelling Builder.

I had a few comments about the last video where I talked about the breakdown of trades in Australia. The reason for my view that such a breakdown is a bad thing for the industry is as follows. Nowadays tradespeople, more to the point apprentices are now working for companies that specialize only in a particular portion of their trade. What happens, these apprentices come out of their time not knowing or experienced in how to handle all of their trade.

Australia failing apprentices

Australia failing apprentices is a problem; I see this first hand as a site manager. Just imagine on a construction site where you are managing 200-300 people, you have a couple of tradesmen that have just come out of their time that is supposed to be doing a particular task. But they are not able too because they do not have the experience for this work. This lack of expertise makes you ask their company to move them on from the task. All because they are now holding up other contractors from doing their work.

The tradesmen are not at fault, they have never learned this, its a fault of the industry, their employer, people in the past that had taught them what they know now. This lack of overall experience something that we need to deal with as an industry in a whole. I will give you an example, my very first apprentice carpenter that I had employed. I spent six months trying to find a formwork company for him to work with, simply because my business did not do formwork.  I tried to have him work with them for three months; I was willing to pay half his wages for that time. There was no interest; no one cared about trying to help teach an apprentice the full scope of his trade.

Australia’s next big problem

It is a huge deal Australia failing apprentices, give it five years, and I think the cracks in the industry are going to start to show. A massive problem. There are a few different people I have spoken to in the industry, one person in particular who specializes in trade waste (plumbing) who said, that he is getting out of the business simply because it’s too hard.

There are a lot of the older guys who are now starting to get out of the industry. They have had enough. There is too much breakdown of every trade, everyone is out to try and make a few dollars and to do that they have to niche down, they have to specialize. But what is happening to our apprentices? They are now learning only part of their trade.

I don’t think the Australian general public in are ready for the disaster that is about to unfold over the next 20 years. I reckon in five years maybe even just a few years; we are going to see the cracks show. This is something that now has become a systemic problem in our industry. Our building industry is failing, and there aren’t too many people out there doing a lot about it. It is the time that something happens before it’s too late.