Instructions for Prospective Bricklayers

Construction jobs are becoming more popular, especially in light of the UK government's recent 'Build Back Better' growth strategy. The UK, in particular, is currently experiencing a shortage of bricklayers to carry out this necessary building work. This rewarding career can be pursued as an entry level job role for many beginning in the construction sector, providing opportunities to develop skills and retrain. However, there are several steps you must take to become a bricklayer.

We will explain what a bricklayer does on a daily basis, as well as the qualifications and training that may be required and/or that will increase your chances of employment, throughout this article. We will also discuss the various paths available and the skills you may need to develop in order to pursue this career.

What Is the Job of a Bricklayer?

A bricklayer's primary responsibility is to build houses and other structures. This type of work may include the construction of new structures as well as the repair or extension of existing structures. The work can be varied, with opportunities to work on residential and commercial projects, as well as chimneys and decorative masonry. A person who performs this work may also be referred to as a mason or a brick mason.

A bricklayer may be responsible for the following tasks on a daily basis:

  • Brick, stone, and concrete block laying in mortar
  • Building Block Repair
  • Measurement of construction areas
  • Mortar can be mixed by hand or with a mechanical mixer.
  • Putting down or removing mortar
  • Hand tools or powered equipment are used to shape bricks.
  • To ensure straight rows, use a spirit level, laser level, or plumb line.

As a bricklayer, you will most likely be working outside in all weather conditions. The tasks will almost certainly necessitate working at heights and may involve various types of machinery. You could be working on a construction site for a construction company as an employee or as an independent contractor with other bricklayers and workers. Alternatively, you could be self-employed and work alone or in a small team on commercial projects such as fireplace construction. Working hours vary, but are usually between 42 and 44 hours per week.

What Education and Training Do Bricklayers Need?

There are several paths you can take to become a bricklayer, depending on your interests. You can earn a qualification by taking a college course, or you can pursue an apprenticeship, which combines classroom learning with on-the-job training. There is also the option of starting work as a construction site laborer right away and learning on-the-job, though this route may be more difficult without prior experience or qualifications.

A Levels and College

One of the most common ways to begin a career as a bricklayer is to enroll in a training course offered by a college or other training provider. These are introductory courses that will teach you the skills required to become a bricklayer. Having one of these qualifications will increase your chances of landing a trainee position with a construction company.

The following courses may be available at a college or other training provider, as listed on the National Careers Service website:

  • Level 1 Construction Skills Certificate
  • Level 2 Bricklaying Diploma
  • Trowel Occupations Level 2 Diploma
  • On-Site Construction T Level

Check the prerequisites for the course you want to take. Typically, you will need the following:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G) or equivalent for a Level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) or equivalent for a Level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English and Maths, are required for a T Level course.

T Levels are a new type of qualification that will be available starting in September 2020. They are taken following GCSEs and are equivalent to three A Levels. To obtain a T Level, you would enroll in a two-year course that combines classroom learning with practical training through an industry placement. A T Level is estimated to require approximately 1,800 hours of contact time in total, including classroom instruction and on-the-job experience. Additional T Levels will be introduced in the future, with onsite construction beginning in September 2021.

T Levels are typically less hands-on than apprenticeships. They are better suited to those who aren't sure what occupation they want to pursue, don't need to earn a living while training, or want to continue their education before entering the workforce. A T Level will improve your career prospects, whether you are looking for skilled work, an apprenticeship, or higher education (via UCAS points).

If you are unsure about a career as a bricklayer, it may be worth taking a shorter, introductory course first. Some colleges provide these on a part-time basis. You might also want to get some work experience so you can get some hands-on training. This could be useful to learn more about bricklaying or to add to your CV. Alternatively, you may be certain that this is the job for you and want to begin working as soon as possible. If you can find work as a construction site laborer, your employer may offer you training to become a bricklayer.

You can learn more about college courses and T Levels by clicking on the following links:


An apprenticeship, typically a bricklaying intermediate (Level 2) apprenticeship, is another way to become a bricklayer. As with college courses, most apprenticeships require some GCSEs, often including English and Math, or equivalent. An apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with classroom learning at a college or training provider. Unlike T Levels, which are more evenly divided, an apprenticeship is typically 80% practical and 20% classroom based. Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16 and typically last two years.  

An apprenticeship may include practical training with a company, such as a construction firm, which will provide you with real-world experience in the industry and job role. This company will fully employ you and require you to work at least 30 hours per week, split between onsite training and classroom learning.

Follow the links below to learn more about apprenticeship opportunities near you:

  • Train as an apprentice
  • Find an apprenticeship on


Before being allowed to train or work on a construction site, most principal contractors or clients require workers to have a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. While a CSCS card is not a legal requirement, having one greatly increases your chances of employment because it is required by the majority of principal contractors. CSCS cards are held by individuals who work on-site and serve as proof that they have received the necessary training and qualifications for the job. The cards are regarded as critical in assisting in the maintenance of high standards of health and safety on UK construction sites.  

The type of CSCS card you will be issued as a bricklayer will also be determined by whether you have any qualifications and whether you are a member of a professional body (or have registered or applied for either). If you have no qualifications and have not registered, you may be issued with a Provisional CSCS Card. You may be eligible for an Apprentice CSCS Card if you have registered for an approved bricklaying apprenticeship. You may be eligible for a Trainee (5 Years), Experienced Worker, Skilled - Blue, or Skilled - Gold CSCS Card depending on your qualifications and training as a bricklayer.

You must have passed the CITB Operatives Level Health, Safety, and Environment test within the last two years before applying for a CSCS card. This test can be scheduled through the CSCS's website.

Education and Training

Along with your practical training to become a bricklayer, you may want to expand your knowledge by enrolling in an awareness level course. This may not be directly related to bricklaying, but it will provide you with a better understanding of the general or more specific health and safety risks on a construction site.  

High Speed Training has created a number of online courses that are appropriate for a variety of workers, including bricklayers. Our awareness level courses include the following:

You can view our entire catalog of online health and safety training courses by clicking here.

What Qualifications Do I Require to Work as a Bricklayer?

There are some essential skills that you must have in order to be a bricklayer and be a good fit for the job. You should also consider the job's responsibilities and the sometimes demanding nature of the work you'll be doing.

A bricklayer should have the following skills:

  • Detail-orientedness and thoroughness
  • Construction and building knowledge
  • Capability to work well in a group
  • Adaptability and adaptability
  • Strength, coordination, and balance are all examples of physical fitness.
  • Ability to work effectively with your hands
  • Time management and organization
  • Patience and perseverance
  • Basic computer abilities

If you believe you possess these abilities, you may be qualified to work as a bricklayer. If this is a career path you want to take, there are numerous opportunities for advancement. After completing your training and gaining some experience as a bricklayer, you have the option of going self-employed and starting your own bricklaying business. You may want to advance to the position of site supervisor or train for specialized work such as stonemasonry. A career in bricklaying will provide you with numerous opportunities in the construction industry, allowing you to continuously develop your skills and experience.

You should now understand how to become a bricklayer and what the job entails on a daily basis. If this sounds like a job for you, there are numerous ways to train and advance your career. Being a bricklayer can be difficult, with the expectation that you will work in almost all weather conditions and for long hours, but it can be extremely rewarding to see the finished product of what you have created.

Additional Resources:

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