Workforce Skills Support

What Does It Take To Become A Qualified Bricklayer?

June 18, 2024

Do Bricklayers Need a Degree in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, the construction industry is a vital sector that continuously seeks skilled professionals to build and maintain the infrastructure. Among these professionals, bricklayers play a crucial role. But a common question that arises is: Do bricklayers need a degree in the UK? The answer is straightforward—no, a degree is not required to become a qualified bricklayer in the UK. However, there are several paths and qualifications that can enhance a bricklayer’s skills and career prospects.

Understanding the Role of a Bricklayer

Bricklayers, also known as brickmasons, are responsible for building and repairing walls, floors, chimneys, and other structures made from bricks, concrete blocks, and other materials. Their work is physically demanding and requires precision, attention to detail, and a good understanding of construction techniques.

Education and Training Pathways

While a university degree is not necessary, bricklayers typically need to undergo some form of training to develop their skills. Here are the common routes to becoming a bricklayer in the UK:


  1. Apprenticeships: Apprenticeships are one of the most popular and effective ways to become a bricklayer. They combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction, allowing apprentices to earn while they learn. Apprenticeships usually last between two to three years and lead to a Level 2 or Level 3 NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) in Bricklaying.
  2. College Courses: Various colleges across the UK offer full-time and part-time courses in bricklaying. These courses typically lead to a diploma or certificate in bricklaying, such as the Level 1 Diploma in Bricklaying or the Level 2 Technical Certificate in Bricklaying. These programmes provide foundational knowledge and hands-on experience in a controlled environment.
  3. Work-Based Learning: Some individuals may choose to start working as a labourer in the construction industry, gaining practical experience and on-the-job training. Over time, they can develop the necessary skills and may take additional courses or certifications to formalise their training.
  4. Traineeships: Traineeships are designed for young people who need to gain more skills and experience before starting an apprenticeship or a job. These programmes include work experience and training in essential skills, often lasting up to six months.


Certifications and Professional Development

While not mandatory, obtaining certifications can enhance a bricklayer’s employability and career progression. Some key certifications include:


  • CSCS Card (Construction Skills Certification Scheme): Most construction sites in the UK require workers to hold a valid CSCS card, which demonstrates their competence and knowledge of health and safety practices.
  • NVQ/SVQ Qualifications: As mentioned earlier, NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) or SVQ (Scottish Vocational Qualification) in Bricklaying are respected qualifications that validate a bricklayer’s skills and experience.
  • City & Guilds Qualifications: City & Guilds offer a range of qualifications in bricklaying that are widely recognised in the industry.


Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

The construction industry is constantly evolving with new techniques, materials, and regulations. Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is essential for bricklayers who wish to stay updated and advance in their careers. CPD activities can include attending workshops, completing short courses, and staying informed about industry standards and best practices.


Commonly Asked Questions About Becoming a Bricklayer

1. Do bricklayers need a CSCS card?

Yes, most construction sites require bricklayers to have a valid CSCS card to demonstrate their competency and knowledge of health and safety regulations.


2. How long does it take to become a qualified bricklayer?

The time it takes to become a qualified bricklayer can vary. An apprenticeship typically lasts between two to three years, but this can vary based on the individual’s learning pace and the specific training programme.


3. What skills are essential for a bricklayer?

Essential skills for a bricklayer include physical strength and stamina, precision, attention to detail, problem-solving abilities, and a good understanding of construction techniques and safety practices.


4. Can you become a qualified bricklayer later in life?

Yes, many people enter the bricklaying profession later in life. With appropriate training and qualifications, such as an NVQ in Bricklaying, individuals can successfully transition into this career.


5. What are the career progression opportunities for qualified bricklayers?

Experienced or qualified bricklayers can progress to supervisory roles, start their own businesses, or specialise in areas such as stonemasonry or historic building conservation. Further qualifications and CPD can enhance career prospects.


Workforce Skills Support: Helping You Build a Successful Career

At Workforce Skills Support, the UK’s leading construction training provider, we offer comprehensive training and qualifications to help you become a successful bricklayer. Our Bricklaying NVQs are designed to provide you with the skills and knowledge required to excel in the industry. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to enhance your existing skills, we can guide you in choosing the right qualifications to meet your career goals.

Our experienced instructors and tailored training programmes ensure that you receive practical, hands-on experience combined with theoretical knowledge. We are committed to supporting you every step of the way, from initial training to achieving your NVQ qualifications and beyond.

For more information on our Bricklaying NVQs and other construction training programmes, visit our website or contact us directly. Let Workforce Skills Support help you build a strong foundation for a successful career in bricklaying.

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