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 June 2016 the Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council (SBATC) rates for a 4-year apprenticeship based on a 39-hour week are:
Year 1 – £159.90
Year 2 – £216.45
Year 3 – £285.87
Year 4 – £354.90.
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 to £18 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, sometimes with overtime. You might have to work some evenings and weekends.
- 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.
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- The normal entry route is by finding a Modern Apprenticeship with an employer.
- You do not always need formal qualifications, but some subjects at National 4 or 5, including English, Maths and a technological subject would be useful.
- You usually have to take an aptitude test.
- 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
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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.
- With on the job and off the job training, you would work towards a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Trowel Occupations (Construction) at Level 3 (SCQF Level 6).
- On completion of an SVQ you could study part time at college for Brickwork (PDA) or Advanced Craft Certificate in 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.
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