In a construction boom finding work isn’t hard, it’s finding the right workers to do it.

Builder, Frazer Earl, has been in the construction industry for twenty years.  He calls himself a boutique builder and he deals mostly with high-end homes.  He’s got plenty of jobs coming in, but finding a qualified carpenter he says is impossible.

“I tried to hire a senior level staff member recently and we just couldn’t find someone; went through recruitment agents, through Seek, through the websites we just couldn’t find someone.”

Instead he hired four apprentices through Apprenticeship Careers Australia. It’s not only helped grow his business, it’s brought unexpected personal rewards. 

“When I was an apprentice not many people looked out for me and I got bullied, things like that.  It was a bit of a challenging road.  I like teaching my apprentices what not to do. Moving forward, when they do become a builder, how to look after your client, look after your tradesmen, not that old stereotype builder, so we stamp that out.”

Frazer says managing his expectations with the apprentices is the biggest challenge.  In the first couple of months he just hopes they’ll show up. 

“I suppose the first years are very hard because they come out of school.  We’ve got to really try and teach them pretty much just to be on time, just turn up, and that’s all we expect of them in the first week or three months.

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 An ACA case officer always checks in with me once a week so they’re very proactive in making sure that the apprentices get through. We’ve got a few that have come through the ranks and they’ve finished their time with us and we’ve got ones that work for us now as head carpenters.

Every time I interview a new one they always think they’re going to be building a kitchen, especially a carpenter or doing carpentry work on day one, I let them know that they’ll be sweeping floors for the first week,” Frazer says.

23 year old first year apprentice Carl Geerlings has been working with Frazer for about four months, he says he tries to take pride in every task he’s set, even when it’s sweeping floors. 

“I’ve been learning a lot with Frazer and the boys, and all the crew.  Being in a very small tight knit group it’s a lot more hands on.”

Carl comes from a family of tradies and wants to start his own construction business one day.   Frazer says it’s Carl’s work ethic that impresses him most.

“He lives in the Blue Mountains and all our work is sort of CBD, he’s the first one here and last one to leave every night , five days a week and he’s never been late since.”
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