Building and Construction Industry Training Fund

This Weeks Episode of Home in WA

Email:
inquiries@bcitf.org

Phone:
08 9381 3900

Fax:
08 9338 8902

Address:
55 Salvado Road
Subiaco WA 6008

The Building & Construction Industry Training Fund administers funds drawn from a levy placed on every building construction site in Western Australia. That levy equates to approximately $18:20 on a house of value $100,000 for example. The funds are then allocated to training and skills programmes for apprentices, trainees and others involved in the building industry and all its associated trades.

The building and construction industry needs to have a continual supply of skilled workers to maintain its competitiveness and efficiency and keep pace with changes in technology and building materials. So, the major priority for the BCITF is supporting employers of apprentices and trainees in industry.

Each year the BCITF provides around $6 million to employers of apprentices and trainees. This is the Funds most significant program and reflects the importance of trade training to the industry.

The BCITF's support recognises the enormous contribution and investment that employers of all sizes and types in the industry are making by taking on apprentices and trainees and passing on their skills. Not only are they investing in young people, but they also ensure that industry will have highly skilled workforce in the future.

The BCITF support, which is up to almost $10,000 for apprentices employed by group schemes, helps to reduce the costs of taking on apprentices and trainees and can be used however the employer wishes but it certainly helps to offset costs such as superannuation or workers compensation payments.

The BCITF offers employers incentives totalling $6,000 for taking on an apprentice's. The incentives are provided over a three year period with an initial payment of $3,000, a further payment $2,000 on the first anniversary and a final payment of $1,000 on the second anniversary. Next financial year we hope to increase the final payment to employers by another $1,000 making a total of $7,000 available to employers.
" The BCITF believes that this incentive helps to support all businesses that offer apprentice training, and certainly helps to offset some of their costs.

The industry also has many new training packages available for those areas outside of trade training such as general construction, steel fixing, plant operation and civil construction. At the moment there aren't many businesses in the WA building industry using these traineeships, however there is the opportunity for a business to develop a training program suited to its particular needs.

The building industry is dominated by small businesses and sub-contractors, many of who may not be able to commit to taking on an apprentice full-time for three to four years. So we offer support to both group training schemes and businesses that directly employ their own apprentice or trainee.

The group schemes offer businesses of all sizes the opportunity to pass on their skills and train new entrants in the industry, without necessarily having to be the actual employer. Group Schemes employ the apprentice and then place or host the apprentice with businesses to develop their work skills. The group scheme may place the apprentice or trainee with several employers over the apprenticeship so that he or she learns the whole range of skills required needed to be a tradesperson.

The advantage of using one of the many group training schemes is that many sub-contractors aren't able to offer continuity of work, so the group scheme is an ideal option where they may be able to offer say three or six months training for the duration of a project. The group schemes simply bills the host employer for the time they have the apprentice and takes care of all the paper work for the employer. The host employer's role is that they offer the apprentice the opportunity to learn practical skills on the job.

There are obviously additional costs involved when using groups schemes to hire apprentices, so the BCITF is helping to keep these costs down by also providing funding to groups schemes. This support is then passed onto the host employer through a reduction in the hire out rate for apprentices and trainees so whether you employ apprentices directly or through group schemes the BCITF will still provide you with some support to help reduce your costs.

It's also important to selecting the right person for an apprenticeship. There are a lot ways to recruit people and there are many agencies to help recruit people suited and interested in the industry. The Job Network agencies or Group Schemes are just two options. No matter how you recruit an apprentice or trainee the most important aspect is to look for someone who has an understanding of what the industry is about and is keen to learn. Another option may be to consider selecting someone who has been involved in a school-based program. A number of schools now offer students the opportunity to gain valuable work skills while still studying and in many cases the students are offered apprenticeships by the business with which they spent some time.

Apprenticeships offer people the chance to build a career in the construction industry - after completing trade training, opportunities exist to further develop your skills to become supervisors, construction managers, or pursue one of the many technical or professional occupations that exists in the industry.

The new training packages available in the industry allow someone to work their way up from a labourer or trades assistant to an engineer. The Fund is supporting workers in the industry to develop their careers and enhance their skills by supporting all levels of training in the industry.