Jamie Tubby, bricklayer at BLC Builders tells Amy Collins why he chose bricklaying to build his career.
Why is it a good profession to get into?
I always liked being outside in all weathers. The trade runs through the family - my Dad was in the building trade as well as my Grandfather so it's great to keep up the family tradition. Bricklaying is a real craft and can give a lot of satisfaction when a job is done well and I really enjoy it.
What does the work involve?
At BLC Builders, it's just me and the boss that are the bricklayers and we build lots of different things from chimneys to garden walls. But every day is different and at my firm we do everything – one day you could be bricklaying and the next day could be digging foundations. It is hard work - you have to carry your bricks, mix up your cement and lift and shift heavy bags. Before each job you need to make sure you have the materials you need and order them if necessary; you can't start a job and then realise half way through you've run out of bricks or cement. I did a full time NVQ Level 1 at City College Norwich which gave me the skills which helped to secure the job at BLC. I then completed my NVQ Level 2 with CTS in Great Yarmouth and NVQ Level 3 at City College Norwich, to increase my skills and qualifications.
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What are the positives/negatives of the profession?
I don't think the hours are excessive and I normally work from about 7.30am to about 5pm – some people might think these are long but this is usual in the construction trade. I don't have to travel too much, I arrive at the yard in the morning and then travel to the job which are usually within a 10 mile range using the works van.
Is there much local demand for people trained in this area?
Although I work for a small firm we are always in work. There are a number of construction sites and new housing developments across the city which need bricklayers.
What would employers look for in someone applying for this position?
You've got to be keen and willing to do the work. You need to have the ability to plan and think ahead, there is no time to doze off. As it's hard labour you need to be fit and energetic to get the work done and in the quickest time possible. And obviously you shouldn't be scared of heights. Qualification wise, you'd need NVQ level 1 and maybe level 2 to get your foot in the door of an employer and then you could complete level 3 on a day release basis.