A bricklayer uses manufactured bricks, breeze blocks, concrete and mortar to build and repair inside and outside walls, tunnels, chimneys and archways. Work can be plain or ornamental.
You could be:
- reading the engineers’ and architects’ plans and drawings
- choosing tools and materials
- measuring the area, then setting out bricks in position, starting with the corners
- using a trowel to spread mortar
- laying the bricks, using a plumb line and spirit level to make sure they are vertical and level
- using a club hammer and bolster (a chisel with a wide blade), or machine cutters, to cut bricks to size and a brick hammer to trim the bricks
- lifting and carrying bricks and tools
- climbing and working on scaffolding
- installing special materials into walls and floors to prevent moisture from entering internal rooms (known as damp proof coursing).
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of the company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
There is a minimum wage for apprentices in Scotland. As of September 2017 the Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council (SBATC) rates for a 4-year apprenticeship based on a 39-hour week are:
Year 1 – £165.75
Year 2 – £224.25
Year 3 – £292.50
Year 4 – £364.65.
Please note these rates may vary if the Apprentice is 21 years old or over and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship. National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) will apply.
Once qualified you may start on around £17,000 a year. With experience this can go up to £30,000. You can earn extra through overtime and bonuses. A self-employed qualified bricklayer can expect to earn £11.00 to £18.00 an hour.
- You work mostly outdoors, sometimes in bad weather.
- You often work at heights.
- You must carry heavy weights and climb scaffolding.
- You must wear protective gear: a hard hat, and sometimes goggles, gloves, ear-protectors and protective footwear.
- You would normally work a 39-hour week, but may sometimes work overtime including evenings and weekends to meet deadlines.
- Your working day starts early and usually depends on daylight. Working hours are longer in summer and there may be lay-offs in winter.
- You must travel to different sites and might have to live away from home.
- It might be dusty when bricks are being cut.
- You must have your own tools and equipment if self-employed.
LMI data powered by LMI for All
- The normal entry route is by finding a Modern Apprenticeship with an employer.
- You do not always need formal qualifications, but some employers ask for subjects at National 4 or 5 including English, Maths and a science or technological subject.
- You usually have to sit an aptitude test as part of the application process.
- A driving licence can be useful.
- You should not be allergic to dust.
- You must hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to work on a site. You must pass a health and safety test to qualify for this scheme.
Predicted Employment in Scotland
LMI data powered by LMI for All
What Does it Take?
You need to have:
- practical skills
- a methodical approach and an eye for detail
- the ability to read drawings and plans
- basic maths skills
- an awareness of safety issues
- a head for heights and a good sense of balance.
You need to be able to:
- work accurately and meet deadlines
- work alone and as part of a team
- lift and carry heavy items.
- Training during a Modern Apprenticeship is mainly on the job with off the job training, you would work towards a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Trowel Occupations (Construction) at SCQF Level 6 and PDA Bricklaying.
- On completion of an SVQ you could study part time at college for Advanced Craft Brickwork.
- With experience you can apply for promotion to supervisory posts.
- You might then move into management.
- You might go on to work for yourself, sub-contracting your labour to building contractors. Eventually you could run your own specialist firm, employing other staff.
- There are good opportunities for temporary work abroad.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
Was this article useful?
Please help us improve Planit by rating this article.