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Young tradies turning green.



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2CN AM Young tradies turning green

04/12/2008

PETER CAVE: A new survey has found that some young tradespeople and apprentices believe they have a moral obligation to be more environmentally friendly. But they're facing resistance from bosses and clients, who just want the cheapest solution.

Youth affairs reporter, Michael Turtle.

(Sound of builder mixing cement)

MICHAEL TURTLE: At a small building site, young bricklayer Nigel Croke is putting up a wall at the back of the property. As he works, he knows which materials and which methods are environmentally friendly, and which aren't.

NIGEL CROKE: We're using a bigger size brick which is a double size of what a normal brick is and more or less that saves on water, which is used in our mud.

MICHAEL TURTLE: A new survey by the development group, Dusseldorp Skills Forum, has found about 80 per cent of young apprentices and tradespeople like Nigel Croke care about being green.

And the main reason is they want to make a difference and leave a legacy.

NIGEL CROKE: The news and that's made us more aware of our situation with global warming and that and it's sort of making us think well our kids' kids and their kid's kids are going to have to live in the future so we've kind of got to look after it so they've got something left here.

MICHAEL TURTLE: But there are barriers to turning that desire into practice. The survey found the biggest is the cost of the materials and tools.

In bricklaying, for instance, it's much more expensive to get a saw which recycles the water.

NIGEL CROKE: In bricklaying it's sort of a money game and that's it, everyone looks at the bottom line which is the dollar and anything that happens in between that no one tends to worry about unfortunately.

MICHAEL TURTLE: The Dusseldorp Skills Forum found the other main factor that stopped young tradies from being more environmentally friendly is a lack of support.

Spokeswoman, Judy Turnbull, says the people they work for either don't understand, or don't care.

JUDY TURNBULL: What was interesting was that most of the young people wanted to try or practice green skills in the workplace but they felt it was very much, allowable only if the client wanted it and/or if the workplace wanted it.

MICHAEL TURTLE: Young workers from a range of trades shared their experiences for the study.

Electricians talked about the need for more solar energy, IT experts were concerned about power usage and equipment recycling and hairdressers talked about water wastage and the use of environmentally-friendly products.

But ultimately the research found there's a lack of information available for a lot of these workers.

JUDY TURNBULL: They're crying out for a need to learn more about, and also to try, green skills in the workplace. And they're also asking for their managers or the more experienced workers to up-skill them to try those green skills in the workplace.

MICHAEL TURTLE: Mrs Turnbull also says that although there are some good examples, the TAFE sector should be doing more to promote environmental issues to students as well.

PETER CAVE: Michael Turtle with that report.

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