Bricklayers build and mend walls. They use bricks and other materials such as concrete blocks. Bricklayers work on new buildings such as homes, offices, shopping centres and flats. They also work on things like garden walls, chimneys and tunnels. They sometimes mend walls and other brickwork that is damaged. You’ll be using a cement mixer to create mortar (the glue that holds bricks together), cutting and shaping bricks to fit corners, ceilings and floors, and then laying bricks in the right place.
- Measure work areas and set out the first rows of bricks or blocks
- Mix mortar by hand or with a mechanical mixer
- Use a trowel to lay bricks and mortar
- Shape and trim bricks using hammers, chisels and power tools
- Check that rows are straight using a spirit level, laser level or plumb line
Most bricklayers work for building firms. These vary in size, from very small to large companies with building projects all over the UK. Other bricklayers are self-employed and work for a number of different building companies or home owners.
Bricklayers spend a lot of time out of doors in all weathers. Building sites are usually muddy, dirty and noisy places to work. Bricklayers wear protective clothing that includes boots with steel toecaps, heavy gloves and safety helmets.
Working hours are long and can involve frequent overtime, weekend and holiday work. A typical working week is between Monday and Friday and most bricklayers work between eight and ten hours on a daily basis.
Starting salary is around £17,000. Growth/decline predictions -2.2% leading to: 1,555 fewer jobs by 2027.
Generally, employers place more emphasis on the importance of hands-on experience rather than academic qualifications. Indeed, you don’t need any specific academic credentials to break into this line of work. You could start as a construction site labourer with a bricklaying ‘gang’ and take training on the job to become a bricklayer. Some employers will require some GCSEs, usually including English and Maths, or equivalent or an intermediate apprenticeship. You could also apply for an apprenticeship. If you have an EHCP you may be able to apply under the DfE exemption which allows the apprentice to use Entry Level 3 English and Maths qualifications. The apprentice would have to be competent enough to successfully achieve all other aspects of the apprenticeship requirements, become occupationally competent and achieve Entry Level 3 in English and Maths before the end of their apprenticeship.
College – you could start off with a Level 1 Bricklaying course if you have no formal qualifications