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TAFE NSW Bricklaying apprentice builds award-winning career foundation

TAFE NSW Granville

TAFE NSW Granville student Jamal Saleh has been recognised for his bricklaying skill at the 22nd Masonry Contractors Australia annual Excellence in Brick and Blocklaying Awards.

Mr Saleh, who is studying a Certificate III in Bricklaying/Blocklaying at TAFE NSW Granville, was announced Apprentice of the Year during a formal event at Doltone House in Sydney on Friday 1 November.

The award recognises the best bricklaying apprentices from around Australia. Mr Saleh, was one of six TAFE NSW students statewide to win the award.

Mr Saleh said, “I’m honored to have received this award and be recognised for the work I’m doing in a career that I love. My TAFE NSW teachers have been very supportive, teaching me a range of different, hands-on techniques each week that have helped me develop my skills.

“I’ve always wanted to work in the construction industry, but growing up in Scotland and when I was old enough to enter the workforce, the recession hit and there weren’t any jobs. Since moving to Australia and enrolling in the Certificate III in Bricklaying/Blocklaying at TAFE NSW Granville I’m now pursuing my passion.”

Masonry Contractors Australia President Brendan Coyle said the night recognised the best of the best among bricklaying and blocklaying apprentices.

“This annual award event truly is like the Oscars of bricklaying. It is well-deserved recognition to the next generation of bricklayers,” Mr Coyle said.

“When it comes to the construction industry it’s often the architects and designers of the buildings who get the recognition, but without the knowledge and expertise of the craftsmen those buildings wouldn’t have been created in the first place.”

“For an apprentice bricklayer these awards are a barometer of how their skills and knowledge are developing.”

Mr Coyle said the demand for qualified bricklayers was very strong.

“If I could get 1000 apprentice bricklayers tomorrow, I could find work for them all. We can’t get enough skilled people,” he said.

“It’s an amazing career, you can travel with these skills and the money is very good. I know a 17-year-old apprentice who is earning about $50,000 per year.

TAFE NSW Regional General Manager, Michael Cullen, commended the winners for the commitment and dedication they have shown to their studies.

“It is great to see the hard work of TAFE NSW students being recognised at a national level and it is a testament to the role our teachers play in promoting the pursuit of excellence, which is an important element in achieving these types of results.”

Mr Cullen said awards such as these emphasise the commitment TAFE NSW has to skilling the workforce of the future.

Media contact: Emma Cawley, TAFE NSW Media Officer, emma.cawley1@tafensw.edu.au , 0412 478 415.