Why Bricklaying Apprenticeships Are Key to Solving the UK’s Skilled Worker Shortage

Written by Richard O'Connor

The government has estimated that 300,000 new homes per year are required to meet the needs of a growing population, greater life expectancy, and changing lifestyles in the UK. However, constructing these homes will require an injection of skilled workers in the form of bricklayers: 33,000 more bricklayers to be precise. To deal with this shortage, bricklaying apprenticeships may just be the answer.

In today’s blog, we discuss the UK skilled worker shortage and the rising need for bricklayers to help meet the demands of a growing population. We’ll cover everything you need to know about bricklaying apprenticeships and how to find apprenticeships near you.

Why Do We Need More Homes?

House prices in England have increased by over 51% since 2015. One of the most significant reasons for the rise in prices is the chronic shortage of housing supply compared to the demand. The rate of housebuilding simply hasn’t kept pace with the growing population, leading to increased competition for available homes.

And while 234,400 net additional dwellings were built in 2022-23, this number still falls short of the required 300,000 new homes per year to meet growing demand. 

Bricklaying apprenticeships develop skilled workers capable of helping the National Housebuilding Council reach the new homes target. All the while, they’ll also be helping plug the skilled worker shortage that still exists across the UK.

What Is a Bricklaying Apprenticeship?

A bricklaying apprenticeship is a hands-on training programme designed to equip aspiring bricklayers with the essential skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the construction industry. Combining practical work experience with classroom-based learning, Intermediate (Level 2) bricklaying apprenticeships typically span two to three years. During this time, apprentices work alongside experienced professionals on real construction sites.

This blend of on-the-job training and classroom instruction covers key aspects such as bricklaying techniques, health and safety regulations, and construction site practices. Upon completion, apprentices earn a recognised qualification, enhancing their employability and opening doors to a rewarding career in bricklaying.

What Does A Bricklaying Course Cover?

In a Bricklaying apprenticeship, you’ll learn how to lay different types of bricks, blocks, and other building materials in mortar as you construct, refurbish, and repair walls, partitions, and other structures.

You’ll get hands-on experience preparing various materials, including mixing the right ratios of mortar and concrete, ensuring their quality, and determining the correct volumes needed. While most of the work is done by hand, you’ll also be trained to safely use a range of tools and machinery, such as disc cutters and other power tools. You’ll work in diverse environments, including new residential builds, commercial developments, and large restoration projects.

Health and safety knowledge is crucial in construction, and you’ll learn all about the necessary requirements, including COSHH/risk assessments and asbestos awareness, and the use of proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Additionally, you’ll be taught how to read and interpret drawings and specifications and how to use these to measure the work area accurately, employing tools like laser levels and string lines to ensure precision in your work.

Benefits of a Bricklaying Apprenticeship

There are loads of benefits to doing a bricklayer apprenticeship. We’ve outlined some of the key benefits below.

  • Hands-on experience: One of the greatest benefits of a bricklaying apprenticeship is that you’ll gain heaps of hands-on experience from day one. This is priceless in this line of work.
  • Earn while you learn: Worried about student debt? With apprenticeships, you don’t have to! On the contrary. You’ll actually get paid from the get-go based on the National Minimum Wage for apprentices (currently £6.40/hour).
  • Job security: With a consistently high demand for bricklayers across the UK, great job stability exists in this sector. 
  • Career progression: If you want to go further in the construction industry, there are plenty of opportunities for advanced training and specialisation.

Entry Requirements and Eligibility

So, what do you need to get started? 

Generally, you’ll need basic qualifications like GCSEs in Maths and English. You should be at least 16 years old, living in the UK and not in full-time education.

A career in bricklaying will require you to have a decent level of physical fitness, as the job can be physically demanding. An eye for detail and a willingness to work outdoors in all weathers will also serve you well.

Career Progression and Opportunities

Once you complete your bricklaying apprenticeship, you’ll be eligible for a variety of career paths within the construction industry. Each of the paths offers both stability and potential for advancement. 

Here are some key avenues for career progression after a bricklaying apprenticeship:

Junior to Senior Bricklayer

Initially, you’ll start as a junior or apprentice bricklayer, working under the guidance of experienced professionals. As you gain experience and enhance your skills, you can progress to a senior bricklayer role. Senior bricklayers take on more complex projects, provide guidance to junior team members, and ensure quality control on construction sites.

Site Supervisor and Site Manager

With additional experience and possibly further training, you can move into supervisory roles. As a site supervisor, you’ll oversee the work of bricklayers and other tradespeople, ensuring projects run smoothly and safely. Advancing further to a site manager role involves managing entire construction sites, coordinating various trades, and ensuring projects are completed on time and within budget.

Specialist Roles

Bricklaying offers several opportunities for specialisation. You might choose to focus on heritage restoration, working on the preservation and renovation of historical buildings. Alternatively, you could specialise in decorative brickwork, creating intricate patterns and designs that add aesthetic value to buildings.

Self-Employment and Business Ownership

Many bricklayers opt to become self-employed, offering their services on a freelance basis. This path allows for greater flexibility and the potential to earn more by taking on multiple projects. With experience and a solid reputation, some bricklayers start their own construction businesses, hiring and managing their teams and taking on larger contracts.


Bricklaying apprenticeships are a great way to tackle the UK’s skilled worker shortage. With the government needing 300,000 new homes each year, we need 33,000 more bricklayers to get the job done.

These apprenticeships offer hands-on experience, a solid qualification, and benefits like earning while you learn and job security. Plus, there are loads of career progression opportunities, from becoming a senior bricklayer to starting your own business.

In short, if you’re looking for a stable and rewarding career in construction, a bricklaying apprenticeship is a fantastic choice. Get started today and help build the homes we need!

How Do I Find Bricklaying Apprenticeships Near Me?

Start your search for bricklaying apprenticeships now with the Employing an Apprentice jobs board.

As well as helping you with your apprenticeship search, we’ve also got plenty of useful help and advice for anyone considering enrolling in an apprenticeship. From reasons to start an apprenticeship to how to apply for one, we’ve got you covered with our dedicated guides.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

Are You An Apprentice Employer?

Here, at Employing an Apprentice, we offer support and guidance for employers in a whole range of areas. 

This includes topics such as the benefits of employing an apprentice, how to access funding, finding an apprentice training provider, End Point Assessments, and much, much more. 

Looking to recruit fresh talent to your bricklaying apprenticeship programmes? You can advertise your vacancy on our specialised apprenticeship jobs board today.

For more information, email us at info@employinganapprentice.com or give us a call at 0345 872 4501.

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Last Updated: Monday June 17 2024
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