A bricklayer uses manufactured bricks, breeze blocks, pre-cut stone, concrete and mortar to build and repair inside and outside foundations, 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
mixing mortar by hand or using a mechanical mixer
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, sometimes up scaffolding
installing special materials into foundations, 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 June 2019 the Building and Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council (BATJIC) rates for a 4-year apprenticeship based on a 39-hour week are:
Year 1 – £200.46
Year 2 – £266.37
Year 3 – £334.23
Year 4 – £353.73 (with SVQ Level 2).
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 a year. You can earn extra through overtime and bonuses. A self-employed qualified bricklayer can expect to earn £13.00 to £23.00 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 could work up to 45 hours a 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.
You must have your own tools and equipment if self-employed.
basic maths skills for measuring and calculating materials
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 SVQ in Bricklaying (Construction) at SCQF Level 6 and PDA or City and Guilds Diploma 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.
CITB is the Sector Skills Council which covers a wide range of sectors in the development and maintenance of the built environment. Its careers website (bconstructive.co.uk) provides a wide range of information on jobs in the construction industry.