Bricklayers work on the construction and maintenance of council property. Bricklayers are skilled craftspeople who turn the plans of engineers and architects into real structures. They build all types of walls for new buildings, renovations, extensions, tunnels, archways, drainage systems, and so on.

Work Environment
Bricklayers work inside and outside, in all weathers. The work is very physical and requires a lot of standing, bending, kneeling, lifting and carrying. Bricklayers wear hard hats and boots with steel toe-caps; with extra protective clothing, such as goggles, gloves and ear defenders forsome jobs. They work at heights, using ladders and scaffolding; and sometimes, in confined spaces.

Daily Activities
On smaller projects, bricklayers may be expected to prepare the site, which involves:

  • following plans and measurements to mark out the position of walls and 'quoins' (corners), using string and pegs;
  • preparing foundations by digging trenches and filling them with crushed stones and concrete.

When building begins, bricklayers:

  • working to precise plans, which show - for example, where doors and windows are, what materials to use, and what 'bonds' (ways of laying bricks) to use;
  • planning their work to ensure that any cuts in brickwork fall under windows or doors where they are less noticeable;
  • selecting appropriate tools for the job, such as club hammers, brick hammers, chisels and different sized trowels, or power tools, such as disc cutters;
  • selecting the materials they need - bricks, breeze blocks, patterned blocks, chalk, flint, etc.;
  • mixing mortar and spreading it carefully between layers of bricks;
  • constantly checking that all vertical and horizontal lines are level, using spirit levels and plumblines;
  • carrying out decorative work, for example, laying bricks at an angle with the corners projecting - making one line of bricks stand out from the rest of the wall or using a different material, such as chalk, to introduce a pattern.

Skills & Interests
Bricklayers need:

  • to be skilled using their hands;
  • the ability to work quickly and neatly;
  • to be safety conscious;
  • basic maths formeasuring accurately and doing straight forward calculations;
  • to work well as part of a team;
  • to be able to work without constant supervision.

Entry Requirements
There are no set entry requirements, though some GCSEs grades or equivalent vocational qualifications may be required for trainee bricklayers. English, maths and technology are useful subjects.

Training schemes generally combine on-the-job experience with part-time attendance at college, forexample through an Apprenticeship. There may be a selection test forsome training schemesorApprenticeships.  NVQs/SVQs in Bricklaying are available at levels 2 and 3.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
With experience and further training, bricklayers may be able to progress to supervisory jobsorroles within construction management.

Further Information & Services
Apprenticeship information 
Construction Skills

Careers Wales have produced a Spotlight article on careers in construction:

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library. 

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