With over 700 construction related occupations available the industry certainly has plenty of job roles to choose from.
Here we will detail the popular site based construction role, the bricklayer, noting what the job involves and how to get into it.
Working as a Bricklayer: The Training
You do not need any formal qualifications to start out in bricklaying however if you would like to progress in bricklaying and work for large contractors you will need to get qualified in your profession. You could begin your training through an apprenticeship scheme, which allows you to work whilst you train, usually undertaking an NVQ level 1, 2 or 3 in Trowel Occupations. Or you could take a full time college course in bricklaying such as a City and Guilds Certificate or a BTEC Diploma. However gaining some on site experience during your training is a good idea, even if it is unpaid, as many employers prefer at least a little experience.
As a qualified and/or experienced bricklayer you could find work with large contractors and small sub-contractors.
You could set up your own business working self-employed on small domestic contracts or larger commercial contracts.
There is an opportunity to progress in your career and through hard work, experience and qualifications you could fulfil a site supervisor or clerk of works. Additionally with further training you could progress into related areas such as estimating, construction management or bricklaying instructor.
It is impossible to accurately predict the future for construction but the role of bricklayer is a varied one with many employment opportunities; with the ability to work on small and large-scale contracts this construction occupation offers flexibility and therefore more employment opportunities.
A competent bricklayer with basic experience could earn a salary of £15k per annum. If you gain a qualification your earnings will increase to £16-£23k per annum. Highly experienced and qualified bricklayers can earn upwards of £30k per annum.
A bricklayer builds and repairs brickwork, which can include external and internal walls, tunnel linings, decorative stonework and chimneys. Some specialist bricklayers may also repair and refurbish masonry on restoration and heritage projects. The types of projects bricklayers work on can vary from individual housing extensions to big commercial sites.
Typically work as a bricklayer would include; measuring the areas you intend to work in and setting out the initial rows and damp courses, mixing mortar either with a machine mixer or by hand, applying mortar and laying bricks, cutting and shaping bricks using power tools or chisels, and checking the courses/rows you have laid are straight using the recommended equipment (a laser spirit level for example).
As a bricklayer you can apply for a CSCS card, which will allow you access to over 80% of UK construction sites. Bricklayers are eligible for several types of CSCS card depending upon their experience and qualifications.
The cards a bricklayer could be eligible for include the Red Trainee Card, the Red Experienced Worker Card, the Blue Craft Card or the Gold Advanced Craft Card. Which ever card you are eligible for you will be required to pass a Health, Safety & Environment test before the card is issued.