The complete guide to bricklaying apprenticeships
Bricklayers are a vital profession in the construction industry, responsible for laying bricks, pre-cut stone and concrete blocks in mortar. Bricklayers construct, extend and repair domestic and commercial buildings, and other structures such as foundations, walls, chimneys or decorative masonry. Getting to the end of a project and being able to say ‘I built that’ offers a real sense of achievement for brickies.
Here we will explore what bricklaying apprenticeships offer, the different kinds of apprenticeships for bricklayers there are, the skills and experience they allow you to develop, future career progression opportunities and much more.
How does a bricklaying apprenticeship work?
Your time as a bricklaying apprentice will typically be split between your employer and training provider (such as a college), with at least 20% of your normal working hours spent on training. Your training might happen every week, every month or in a separate block of time, and it can take place at your place of work, at your training provider or online. Your training provider will typically tell you when and where your training will be.
When you do your bricklaying apprenticeship, your experience will depend on your place of work. Working as an apprentice bricklayer in a company that builds homes from scratch will lead to a different experience from working with a firm that focuses on renovations. However, the great thing about bricklaying apprenticeships is that wherever you work, you will learn the same nationally recognised skills and behaviours whilst gaining knowledge of the wider construction industry, too.
Also, there’s much more to bricklaying apprenticeships than laying bricks – you will learn many more vital skills and competencies which we will explore later, as well as core knowledge of a building site that can be applied throughout construction.
How long is a bricklaying apprenticeship?
Typically, bricklaying apprenticeships take between 24 to 30 months, although this depends on the level of qualification, training provider and sometimes employer.
That’s not always the case, Barratt’s fast-track Trade Apprenticeship lasts 18 months.
How much will you earn as an apprentice bricklayer?
As a bricklaying apprentice, you are entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage – the levels of this depend on your age.
A bricklaying apprentice is paid for:
- Your normal working hours
- Training that’s part of your apprenticeship
- Study towards maths and English qualifications if they’re part of your apprenticeship
Also, you are entitled to at least the minimum holiday (annual leave) allowance – at least 20 days per year plus Bank Holidays.
Do you need qualifications to be an apprentice bricklayer?
To apply for entry onto the Level 2 apprenticeship in bricklaying, the nationally recognised apprenticeship qualification, you will need to have GCSE passes in maths and English. The Level 1 bricklaying traineeship (details below) does not require any qualifications. However, maths and English skills are part of the course and must be completed before acceptance onto Level 2.
What types of bricklaying apprenticeships are available?
What will you learn as an apprentice bricklayer?
There is much more to life as a bricklayer than laying bricks – let’s explore what other vital skills you will achieve during your bricklaying apprenticeship:
Health and safety: Health and safety hazards, current regulations and legislation, and the importance of method statements. Codes of practice and safe working practices, including asbestos awareness and correct use of PPE.
Customer service: The principles of high-quality customer service. Gaining and keeping a valued reputation in the industry with clients, colleagues and industry representatives such as suppliers and manufacturers.
Communication: Different communication methods. How to communicate in a clear, articulate, and appropriate manner. How to adapt communication style to different situations.
Buildings: Different eras, types of construction methods, insulation considerations, sustainability, facilities management, fire, moisture, and air protection.
Energy efficiency: The importance and considerations of thermal qualities, airtightness, and ventilation to buildings.
Materials: Types of materials, their uses and their value. Cost awareness and environmental considerations/waste awareness e.g. surface water management and recycling.
Alternative construction techniques: Modern methods of construction, rapid build technology, alternative block, masonry, steel and timber-based cladding systems.
Radial and battered brickwork: Set out and build brickwork, including complex arches and surrounding brickwork, curved on plan, concave and convex brickwork and battered brickwork.
Feature and reinforced brickwork: Set out and build brickwork, including complex decorative features, obtuse/acute angle quoins and reinforced brickwork.
Fireplaces and chimneys: Select materials and resources required to set out and build fireplaces and chimneys using materials such as hearths, plinths, flue liners, chimney pots and other modern methods.
Future prospects and career progression
Those who have completed a bricklaying apprenticeship have a bright future ahead of them. Qualified bricklayers are highly sought after in the construction industry, so you will be in high demand from employers. Whether you want to work on large housing developments, commercial renovations or heritage brickwork – a bricklaying apprenticeship will open many doors.
Plus, bricklaying offers an average salary of £38,000 in the UK, with many experienced bricklayers earning more than this.
Many qualified bricklayers go on to set up their own businesses in bricklaying. Or they become a site supervisor to train up other apprentice bricklayers or specialise in other sections such as stonemasonry.