The bricklaying and plastering trade is one of the oldest trades in the building industry and while the skills required have not changed much since the early days of construction the material used has developed and changed to a great extent.
As skilled tradespeople bricklayers work either on their own or as part of a construction team placing bricks or hollow cement cast blocks on top of each other to create a wall. Bricklayers build both the outer and inner walls of buildings. Some jobs are very simple while others are complex; but either way before starting, a Bricklayer must first read the building plans and work out how they will plan the bricklaying schedule before mortar is mixed or a single brick is laid.
Bricklayers must know which bricks are available and the correct ratios for cement mixtures, depending on the job and weather conditions, they also need to know how to re-enforce structures with metalwork.
This requires on-site experience, and a short period of unskilled laboring can be a good way of getting this experience. Inexperienced bricklayers may start out as support laborers for a more experienced team. This involves carrying the bricks and mortar so that the more skilled workmen don’t have to stop work to go and fetch supplies.
Experienced bricklayers can go on to become self-employed or start their own construction businesses. They can also train for specialist work such as restoration or conservation, or become construction technicians moving on to a supervisory job. There is even a market for experienced bricklayers to move into education, helping the next generation of workers to enter into the industry.