I work for Seddon Construction as an Apprentice Bricklayer, and I'm currently in the third year of my apprenticeship.
Seddon are a construction company that has spanned five generations of the Seddon family, with four regional offices across the UK.
I can point out buildings in the area I’ve worked on to friends and family and have a little boast!
What does your role involve?
I’m an apprentice bricklayer – the backbone of the industry and the trade everyone thinks of when you say 'construction'. It’s a lot more varied than it sounds though. Every project is unique and I’ve been lucky to experience a load of difference schemes, from building schools to housing developments. Now, in my final year as an apprentice with Seddon, I’m grateful for all that experience and the top-class mentoring I’ve received during my time.
I’ve gone from knowing almost nothing to mastering my trade – even coming first in the North West SkillBuild competition and securing a place in the national finals.
If you’ve already got an interest in building or you want to learn more, then just do it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy as much as I do.
What do you like about your job?
The best thing about being an apprentice bricklayer is that I enjoy it! I really don’t mind getting up in the mornings for work. In fact, I’m actually excited to get my gear on and get on to site to do what I love most. Another thing I like about my job is seeing the result of hard work. It’s so rewarding to see something you’ve contributed to, such as a gable end, as the finished product. I can point out buildings in the area I’ve worked on to friends and family and have a little boast!
What's your working day like?
I get onto the site I’m working on early, get the kettle on and then catch up with the guys. It’s nice to work with people who have similar interests and you can get along with. Although we’re always busy, working with friends makes the job even more enjoyable. I’ll then be given a task for the day and then I like to get on with it. Mentors from Seddon are always on hand though if you need them for their advice and expertise. There’s a great balance of independence and teamwork on the Seddon sites. The apprenticeship scheme offers a nice mix of college and on-site learning, so it’s pretty varied.
What skills do you need in your job?
I think being organised is important, as is having an eye for detail. I like picturing the structure I’m tasked with building when looking at the plans, so it helps to have some imagination too. The trade skills come later though and it’s great to have staff who know them inside out training you. When I started my apprenticeship, I couldn’t lay a brick. With the patient help of Stuart and Kevin Ripley, who persisted with my training, I’m in the national SkillBuild bricklaying final.
What was your background before starting this role?
From an early age, I was obsessed with diggers and tools. I knew I wanted to work in building and construction and that was that. After taking the right courses at college, I applied for an apprenticeship with Seddon and thankfully, I got it!
What are you most proud of in your career?
In the autumn this year, I’ll be representing my college and Seddon at the national SkillBuild final for bricklaying, which is unbelievable! I recently came first in the SkillBuild regional heats to land a place at the national stage. I’m sure a lot of people on the course would love to do the same and I’m very proud of that. When I started the apprenticeship, I didn’t think for a second that bricklaying would lead to this. Prior to the SkillBuild award, I also collected Tameside College’s ‘Apprentice of the Year’, and Seddon’s ‘One to Watch’ award. It’s amazing to be recognised and it makes all that work worthwhile!
Where do you see yourself in ten years' time?
It’s hard to know exactly where I’ll be in ten years, but I’m sure I’ll have a future in construction. I’ve achieved a lot more than I thought I would so who knows where I’ll get with the same great teachers. In the nearer future, I’d like to make it onto a HNC course next as I’m still hungry to learn much more about the trade and industry.
A bit of advice for anyone thinking about a career in construction?
First and foremost, just go for it! Since starting the apprenticeship with Seddon, I’ve enjoyed every minute and I’ve never looked back. It’s great to be able to learn while you earn, which is rare. If you’ve already got an interest in building or you want to learn more, then just do it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy as much as I do. See you at SkillBuild!