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Season 5

Becoming a Brick maker...

Mention “construction” and everyone immediately thinks of builders, placing one brick on top the next…but where do those bricks come from and are the people who manufacture them part of the large, diverse and complex construction industry?


Absolutely – yes!! The Construction Industry Development Board places Material Manufacturers at 11% of all people working in the sector in Msanzi, including those who make – or bake – bricks of all types. Bricks are versatile, in fact bricks plus modern technologies are so versatile that they can be used in any type of structure, and the materials used to manufacture them are nearly as flexible. Besides clay, brick manufacturers also use fly ash, slate, calcium silicate, shale and concrete, each has its advantages depending on the outcome required.

Bricks are now refined by technology and machines are available to produce them in mass quantity in less time, at West End Cement Brocks for example, they turn out approximately about 4 Million pavers per month.

Not all brickyards operate at this scale, some are less automated and more labor intensive, but all are feeling the pressure to deliver. Despite a slight downturn in construction generally after the 2010 building boom, government housing and infrastructure projects are driving the demand for building materials, creating opportunities to join this industry.

Vocational training and FET training is available from a variety of colleges and institutions around the country, including affordable short courses covering the basics of the trade, or you could apply as an unskilled labourer and work your way up the ladder like our Hustler John did. His skills have all been gained on the job, a common practice in the field, and he is now exploring new horizons in this industry as he interviews for a production foreman’s position enhancing his income and future potential.

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