Bricklaying Apprenticeships

Ever seen Battersea Power Station and been wowed by its architecture? Read our guide on bricklaying apprenticeships to find out how they work and why you should do one.

Bricklaying Apprenticeships

Ever seen Battersea Power Station and been wowed by its architecture? Especially those four white chimneys and how awesome they look at night. It might not be obvious, but the building is actually made from bricks. Six million of them. And provided a fifth of London’s electricity once. 

There’s loads to think about when it comes to making career choices. You might know you’re interested in bricklaying and the construction industry. But what exactly is it? And how do you get there? Well, a bricklaying apprenticeship is a GREAT place to start.

Bricklayers are similar to craftsmen and masons, except they focus on the construction of brickwork, making sure it’s structurally effective. As a bricklayer, you’ll be responsible for mixing mortar, measuring build areas or using spirit levels to ensure that surfaces are capable of supporting scaffolding.

Driven by increasing rates of housebuilding, demand for bricklayers is only on the up. So there is no BETTER time to get your career kick-started in this profession.

Read our guide on bricklaying apprenticeships to find out how they work and why you should do one.

Can you get an apprenticeship in bricklaying?

Absolutely! And if you’ve made it to this point, chances are you’re either passionate about building or know someone in the industry, like your good old Uncle Bob. He’s always getting dragged into conversations (Bob). But we love him really.

There’s so much more to bricklaying than laying bricks. As an apprentice, you’ll learn about health and safety regulations, method statements and the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE). You’ll be taught about energy efficiency in buildings, how to make them environmentally friendly and all the different materials that are used in construction.

Qualified bricklayers are in high demand, like geoscientists and cyber security specialists. So if you want to work in this industry, whether on new builds, restoration projects or heritage brickwork, a bricklaying apprenticeship will open tons of doors for you. Tons. Like a million. Trillion. Gazillion. 

Here’s a list of some of the best companies in construction:

"“We’ve had excellent support from the employer if and when needed. Our mentors have also been brilliant, really going above and beyond what would be expected.” " Apprentice Bricklayer, East Anglia Brickwork

Find Construction Apprenticeships

How does a bricklaying apprenticeship work?

You don’t need previous experience to become a bricklayer apprentice. You can start with an intermediate apprenticeship and work your way up from there. 

Intermediate apprenticeships are the first step on the career ladder, the newbies in the pack. They’re designed for career-ready students like you who want to get stuck in and learn about the world of work. These apprenticeships are 80% practical and 20% classroom-based.

Oh - and they pay you to learn. 

As an apprentice, you’ll split your time between working for your employer and studying at a training provider. Each programme you do will vary. So working for a company that builds homes from scratch will be completely different from one that focuses on renovations.

Watch this video to find out what a bricklaying apprenticeship is all about.

What qualifications do I need for bricklaying?

To get onto an intermediate apprenticeship, you’ll usually need GCSEs in maths and english. If you don’t have GCSEs, you could do a level 1 construction traineeship at Barking and Dagenham College and take maths and english as part of your course. 

Skills required

As a bricklayer, you’ll need to be:

  • Interested in construction

  • Physically fit, as you’ll be doing lots of lifting

  • Methodical in your approach to work

  • Able to read and understand plans

  • Willing to work in all weather conditions

  • Aware of health and safety measures.

How do I start a bricklaying apprenticeship?

If you’ve never had a job before, or are struggling to find paid positions, a T Level Foundation Year is a great way to improve your CV and boost your employability. Also, if you’re on the fence about working in construction, a T Level foundation year will let you test the waters and figure out whether bricklaying is truly right for you. 

The foundation year is a great place to start if you don’t have any GCSEs. If you have two GCSEs, you can jump straight onto an intermediate apprenticeship.

So what does a traineeship involve?

T Level Foundation Year

The Foundation year is a taster programmes that give you industry knowledge, helps you gain skills and prepares you for an apprenticeship or a job. To do a traineeship, you’ll need:

  • To be aged 16-24

  • Be able to work in the UK 

  • Have little or no work experience

  • Be motivated.

Once you’ve completed your foundation year and/or intermediate apprenticeship, you’ll have qualifications equivalent to:

  •  Five GCSEs at grades 9 - 4 (A - C)

If you want to do an advanced apprenticeship in bricklaying and gain higher qualifications, both of these programmes will take you there.

Where can I find an apprenticeship in bricklaying?

Lots of construction firms are offering bricklaying apprenticeships. Sometimes it can be hard to choose between them all and find one that’s right for you.

That’s where our Best Student Employers table comes in. Here you’ll find the best, most value-driven companies in the industry, based on honest reviews written by apprentices just like you. So if you want an apprenticeship in bricklaying, but need a leg up, be sure to check it out. 

Feeling stuck? Keepmoat Homes is a good place to start. As a bricklaying apprentice with the UK’s leading home builder, you’ll spend 18 months in training, learning skills from employees and contractors within the trade. You’ll work on-site, take theory classes and carry out tasks like:

  • Building cavity walls

  • Inserting insulation

  • Joint walling

By the end of your programme, you’ll have bagged yourself a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Bricklaying and will be fully qualified to launch your career in this sector.

FUN FACT! Did you know Harrison Ford began his career in construction, building furniture and remodelling people’s homes? Then came George Lucas and morphed him into Hans Solo and - well - the rest is history.

How long is a bricklaying apprenticeship?

Bricklaying apprenticeships take around two years to complete, but can last up to 30 months, depending on your employer. But don’t let that put you off. The longer it takes, the more experience you’ll have. And the better you’ll be at your job. Experience trumps everything.

Once you’ve finished your programme, you’ll get an NVQ Level 2 in Bricklaying and a knowledge based BTEC qualification.

This allows you to:

  • Place and compact concrete 

  • Install drainage systems

  • Repair masonry structures.

Imagine constructing an entire drainage system like the King’s Scholar Pond Sewer. There’s a whole lot of sewage that’s piled in there. Want to improve people’s lives like those in Baker Street? There’s never been a better time.

How much do bricklayers earn? 

Bricklayers earn well. The kind of ‘well’ that fills your belly, keeps you warm and puts a nice, cozy roof over your head. As an apprentice, you’ll start low. But the more experienced you become, the more you’ll earn. Until you have… 

Money. Money. Money. (One for all the Mamma Mia lovers out there).

Apprenticeship salary

Apprentices are paid for:

  • Their normal working hours

  • Any training that’s part of their apprenticeship

  • Extra courses they’ll have to take like Maths and English, for example.

Your salary will depend on your apprenticeship level. But you’ll still get paid the National Minimum Wage. Some employers will pay you more, which is always fun.

Once you’ve reached the top of your game and become a seasoned pro (like Uncle Bob), you’ll be averaging £42,000 a year. 

The shortage of bricklayers means wages are set to shoot up even more. So if you’re fit, enjoy the outdoors and looking for a career that’ll offer you financial stability, grab your mortar and paste away!

Want to know what it’s really like to do a bricklaying apprenticeship? Have a read of over 40,000 student-written reviews.

Browse Construction Apprenticeship Reviews

Is bricklaying a hard trade?

Bricklaying is physically and mentally demanding. But it’s not impossible. It just needs time, patience and passion to get right. Just like a bodybuilder who’s expected to lift 300 pounds on the back squat after only a year of training. 

As a fully qualified bricklayer, you’ll need to:

  • Read building plans

  • Understand surface finishes

  • Understand the inner workings of concrete and cement 

  • Install rebar.

If you’re building a retaining wall, you’ll need to do some plumb and levelling checks, as well as regulate the mud to make sure it’s always consistent.

Bricklaying is hard, of course it is, but having machinery such as brick elevators, hydraulic scaffolding and the telehandler means the construction industry has become way easier to navigate.

Are bricklayers in demand in the UK?

Did you know that the UK has a shortage of at least 50,000 bricklayers nationwide? Mainly due to Covid and Brexit which have both left a massive skills gap in the market.

With older bricklayers leaving the industry, fewer people entering and the demand for housing on the rise (300,000 a year to be exact) bricklayers are needed now more than ever.

That’s where you come in.

And so, friends, it’s time to shine.

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