A team of Victoria University bricklaying teachers has won the 2011 Vice Chancellor's Award for outstanding engagement for developing a training program for new migrants to learn a trade while they settle in Australia.
The School of Construction Industries team began offering the bricklaying "taster" program for migrants, mainly from the Burmese community, in 2009. Since then, it has provided up to 50 students a year with pathways into an apprenticeship or future employment while they learn English and settlement skills through agencies such as the Adult Migrant English Program, the Adult Migrant Education Service or the Werribee Community Education Centre.
Nearly all the participants, who learn the basics of the trade with translated training materials and visual aids, have gone on to complete bricklaying pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships or obtained jobs in the trade.
The program is offered at VU's Melton, Werribee and Newport Campuses, and has built long-term relationships with local bricklayers who provide free bricks for the course in return for having access to increasingly hard-to-find quality apprentices.
The model of training was recognised for its capacity to be adapted to VU's other vocational training courses.
VU's bricklaying department also offers a 16-week pre-apprenticeship qualification that includes a work placement in industry. After completion, most graduates receive immediate apprenticeships that are helping to meet demand for the west's ongoing housing boom.
The members of the award-winning bricklaying training team are: Murray Millar, Daniel Bonnici, Barry Walker, Lionel Skinner, Colin King, Tim Malberg and Brett Mellington.
The annual Vice Chancellor's Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding work of Victoria University staff, their exceptional practice, and their outstanding contributions.
A group photo of the bricklaying team with their award is available.
Ann Marie Angebrandt, Media Officer,
Marketing & Communications Department, Victoria University
Ph: (03) 9919 5487; mobile: 0403 556 001