Tower Crane Dream: How a Bricklayer Became a Dogman

GOOD NEWS STORY | 2 Minute Read

Written by Jimmi Nolan

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Brandon Rhea Dogman Tower Crane Dream

Start with the dream, and the rest will follow

At the end of every week, we are rewarded with the fruits of our labour by the grateful Dogman students that pass through our gates as we issue their Statement of Attainment certificates.

Sometimes you meet that special student, who you can immediately sense as a trainer that they are not only here to learn; they are metaphorically wearing their career goals on their sleeve and this course will bring them one step closer to it.

Meet Brandon Rhea of Augustine Heights, Ipswich

Recently we had the honour to host Brandon Rhea in our training yard. A 28 year old bloke of Aborignal descent who grew up in Inala in the south west of Brisbane, now residing with his young family in Augustine Heights, Ipswich.

As I asked Brandon about himself, I got the distinct impression that he’s one of those guys who doesn’t let lack of opportunity, barriers or hardships get in the way of his ambitions.

Bricklayer gets his Dogging Ticket

A bricklayer by trade, he said he’s always wanted to be a tower crane operator. He used to drive past our green ‘Baby Hulk’ tower crane, the pride of our yard at Helensvale now at Stapylton and dreamed of getting in the seat.

He called every crane hire company he could, but could not find anyone to give him an opportunity – he thinks because he didn’t hold a dogman’s ticket.

Spartan GOC to the rescue

Eventually he came across Spartan GOC – he loved the name he said, and gave them a call. He got Nick Hanlin at the other end, who was willing to give him a shot. Four months later he’s in our yard taking his next steps towards his dream job.

Now the proud holder of a dogman ticket, with the majority of the cost of the course covered by Construction Skills Queensland, he’s motivated as ever but recognises he still has much to learn before commencing his first crane operating course. “I believe in doing things properly, working on the job while learning, not just get a ticket because you can.”

The modern construction industry needs workers to be versatile

Spartan, he says, is a great company to work for. Previous employers as a bricklayer were reluctant to allow him to upskill to follow his ambition to realise his career goals. Everybody has their agendas I suppose and are desperate to hold on to skilled workers in the construction industry while quality tradies are so hard to find, let alone retain.

Brandon says that Spartan believe the more versatile their staff are the better; with the caveat when the time is right. Learn your craft under the hook as a Dogger, before getting in the seat as the old mantra goes.

Dogman calculations are complex

Receiving that SOA after a 5 day course doesn’t always come easily though for many reasons. Most of the time it’s because our students are playing that unrelenting balancing act between work, life and study. Others, the classroom just isn’t their desirable way to learn, with many preferring visual, audible or practical applications to help understand complex ideas. Such is the way any educator worth their salt understands and applies to their teaching delivery.

By his own admission, Brandon wasn’t much of a school student, with the maths side of his dogging ticket course like for many, completely foreign to him. In turn, unfortunately he didn’t pass his written exam on his first attempt. A mixture of the work/study/life balance didn’t afford him the time to study.

Pick yourself up, get back on that dog-man!

However, at On the Job Training we see a ‘fail’ as our failure. Our trainers gave him the support he needed to pick himself up and go again. After some sound advice, he knew what he needed to do to pass.

We are unique in that we have a suite of online learning support materials in our ‘Training Tidbit’ portal attached to our website. Brandon spent the weekend watching videos of Jake Rudge, our head trainer, explaining all he needed to know about dogging maths formulas to pass the exam. He came back on Monday more ready than ever and sure enough, passed with flying colours.

“For me, it was all about those videos and nothing against the trainers, they are great. If I’d had time to watch them, I would’ve passed the first time for sure” says Brandon. There is certainly something to be said for being able to watch things back, in your own time to let things sink in which can be tricky in a live classroom environment.

One step closer to the dream

Brandon assures me that he’ll be back to do all the crane licence courses with us. He is super keen to spend more time at our training yard, even offering to volunteer to get experience of working with our tower cranes.  He truly is an inspirational man who knows what he wants and willing to do what it takes to get it.

We’re also looking forward to the honour of Brandon coming down to erect the Aborignal flag on our ‘Baby Hulk’ soon too – so watch this space!

In the spirit of reconciliation the organisation acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

Interested in doing a course to get a Dogging or Crane Ticket?

Find out more about why On the Job Training offer the best dogging ticket course available – smallest student to trainer ratios, multiple dogging lifting stations for more hands on and less down time, with all training resources produced in house (video, podcasts, practice exams).

Check out our course calendar and use the Book Me form to secure your place. Alternatively give us a call at any time!

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