If you watch a bricklayer at work, you might think it seems quite easy. After all, they just lay one brick next to the other and then begin the next row above. However, this is not true at all, and it’s one of those jobs, that looks much easier than it is.
Bricklaying is a highly skilled job that requires training and experience.
To become a qualified bricklayer there are several things you will need to do. These include completing an apprenticeship with work-based experience, as well as several years at college.
There is a range of skills needed to become good at bricklaying. They must have a good understanding of figures and measurements. As well as a varied knowledge of construction skills.
They will also need the ability to read technical plans, have good practical skills and a high level of accuracy. This proves that bricklaying is a difficult job, that requires a high level of skill.
How Long to Learn Bricklaying?
To become a bricklayer that has the right skills, you will first need to learn. One of the most popular routes is to take an apprenticeship with a company. This means that the company will employ you, and you will work at least 30 hours per week, with the remaining time spent at college.
An apprenticeship will allow you to learn the skills while on the job. It will involve working alongside a skilled bricklayer, who will share their knowledge. Over several years they will teach you everything from the basics, all the way to the more technical aspects of the trade. An apprenticeship will essentially give you extremely valuable experience by learning on the job.
As part of the college apprenticeship, you will learn to lay bricks and blocks. The college learning will give you the fundamentals of bricklaying. This will include setting out, modern methods and how structures work. You will also learn to build walls and structures and improve trowel skills, as well as learning about materials and health and safety.
Around 20% of the apprenticeship will be classroom training and a lot of the work takes place indoors.
Currently, bricklaying has several levels to an apprenticeship. This is an intermediate level and an advanced level. You can get started without any previous experience or additional qualifications.
In two years, you can achieve an NVQ Level 2 in Bricklaying, and an additional year can see you achieve a NVQ level 3.
Additionally, to successfully complete each level, you will also need to complete work-based evidence.
To begin an apprenticeship, you will need some basic GCSEs such as Maths and English. Following this you will need to find a work placement and secure a place at college.
You can take college courses without a work placement. However, you will not be able to complete a full NVQ without work-based evidence.
How Long Does It Take to Get Good at Bricklaying?
The time it takes to become good at bricklaying will vary. This can range from the type of jobs that bricklayers do, to the time they spend working. It will also depend on the individual and their ability.
On average, after they complete an apprenticeship or college course, it can take anywhere from three to five years to become really a good, proficient bricklayer. The more projects they work on, the more experience and skill they will obtain.
Upon completing their apprenticeship, new bricklayers will be expected to work alongside other more experienced bricklayers. This will involve standard bricklaying work, such as laying bricks, but they may not be working on more complex tasks, until they have more experience.
Putting their skills and techniques to use, they will improve. They will then be able to move onto more complex jobs like constructing arches, and other more detailed work.
The more work they complete, the more their finish and speed will improve. This will mean they become better at the trade and much faster. Once experienced, a good bricklayer can often lay up to 900 bricks per day. If your on-price work this can mean big money.
What Skills Does a Bricklayer Need?
Along with their qualifications, bricklayers will rely on a variety of skills. The skills will vary but will enable bricklayers to improve and become more efficient on-site. The list of skills includes:
- Understanding of building and construction
- Attention to detail
- Ability to work with others
- Good mathematical skills
- Ability to read plans and blueprints
- Understanding of materials
- Well organised
- Ability to work well with both hands
- Problem solving skills
- Communication skills
Bricklaying is quite a difficult job, and one that requires a good amount of learning, training, and on-the-job experience. There are several ways to become a bricklayer, with apprenticeships and college courses being the most popular.
But the job is not just about learning the basics of bricklaying. After the basics are perfected, a good bricklayer will continue to learn for years and even decades into the future.
Bricklayers will need to develop many different skills to become good at their craft.