Brick and Stonelayers build the interior and exterior walls of buildings. The work of a brick/stonelayer is mainly concerned with the laying of bricks and stone, in the construction of solid and cavity walls, partitions, fireplaces, chimneys, and other structures.
Brian Conville - Bricklayer & Trainee Site Manager, Conville Construction
Brick and Stonelayers are generally employed in the building industry or they may be engaged on maintenance work in large industrial undertakings. They may work on new buildings, extensions or the restoration of existing buildings.
Brick/stonelayers need to be able to read plans and drawings to find out how the structure is to be built and take account of where corners need to be or where openings must be left for doors and windows.
Click on the photo above for the Bricklayer/Stonelayer brochure.
The minimum age at which the employment of an apprentice may commence is 16 years of age.
The minimum educational requirements are:
Grade D or "Achieved" in five subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent,
The successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course,
Three years’ work experience gained over sixteen years of age in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable.
You must obtain a job as an apprentice in your chosen occupation. Your employer must be approved to train apprentices and must register you as an apprentice within 2 weeks of recruitment.
Note: These are the current approved minimum educational requirements for apprenticeship programmes, however, previous experience of the following subjects would be an advantage but not essential:
- Technical Drawing/Graphics
- Construction Studies
Phase 1: With Employer
- Induction Training
- Introduction to Health & Safety
- Introduction to Tools & Equipment
- Introduction to Basic Skills
Phase 2: Delivered in Training Centre (20 weeks)
- Blockwork (Solid & Hollow)
- Cavity Walls & Chimney Breast Construction
Phase 3: With Employer
- Work Based Training and Assessments
Phase 4: Delivered in Educational Colleges (10 weeks)
- Kerblaying & Paving
- File Openings, Flues & Chimneys
- Decorative Brickwork
- Arch & Timber Frame Construction
Phase 5: With Employer
- Work Based Training and Assessments
Phase 6: Delivered in Educational Colleges (10 weeks)
- Arch Construction
- Decorative Brickwork & Tiling
- Stonework & Cladding
Phase 7: With Employer
- Work Based Training and Assessments
The overall duration of this apprenticeship is a minimum of 4 years provided all phases are successfully completed.
On successful completion of the programme the learner is awarded a Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft - Brick and Stonelaying
|To check whether courses are running in your area for Apprenticeships, check with your local ETB using this link and select your county.|
Skills & Qualities
As a Brick and Stonelayer you will need to be physically active and to be able to work with your hands.
An awareness of health and safety and good housekeeping is essential as well as attention to detail.
The Brick and Stonelayer must have the ability to:
- Plan and organise
- Communicate effectively
- Solve problems
- Work independently and as part of a team
- Show a positive attitude
- Recognise the need for good customer relations
- Demonstrate good work practices including time keeping, tidiness, responsibility, quality awareness and safety awareness
Brick and Stonelayers require many skills including:
- Working with a variety of specialised hand and power tools.
- Working with mortar to bond and point.
- The ability to work to specifications and adapt to surroundings to produce plumb and level walls.
- The ability to read plans and drawings to find out how the structure is to be built and take account of where corners need to be or where openings must be left for doors and windows.
- Attention to detail and accuracy – the Brick and Stonelayer has to make sure that the structure is accurate and meets design requirements.
- Brick walls
- Solid concrete block walls
- Cavity walls in brick and block
- Cellular block walls
- Door and window openings
- Soldier courses
- Chimney breasts and stacks
- Timber frame construction
- Capping and copings
- Lintels and sills
- Laying damp proof courses
- Producing joint finishes
- Identifying various types of scaffolding
- Maintaining safe scaffolding practices
- Arch construction
- Installing and building drainage and sewerage layouts
- Setting kerbstones
- Laying paving slabs
- Floor and wall tiling
- Decorative brickwork
- Prefabricated brick/concrete panelling construction
- System built chimney
- Calculations: costing projects and estimating materials
- Measuring and setting-out
- Transferring levels
- Plumbing, ranging and levelling using spirit level
- Use and care of tools
- Knowledge of building materials
Health and safety is an important aspect of the job, so a Brick and Stonelayer need to wear protective footwear, a safety helmet and, occasionally, safety glasses and hand protection.
- Learning and developing new practical craft-related skills, knowledge and competence
- Working with and learning from experienced craftspersons
- Working with technical drawings and diagrams
- Seeing a job through from start to finish
- Comply with Health and Safety requirements
- Working mainly outdoors
- Using tools or machinery
- Being accurate with numbers in estimating measuring and arithmetic
- Accuracy and attention to detail
- Being well organised and careful with practical tasks
- Working at heights
- Lifting or carrying heavy items
- Taking responsibility for own learning, including the allocation of study time
- Working on construction site
- Being physically active
- Stretching, bending and kneeling
- Working in cramped and awkward spaces
- Passing all your phase exams (theory, practicals skills demonstration)
- Earning as you learn
On successful completion of the apprenticeship programme, apprentices are qualified to work within the recognised trade or profession.
Opportunities arise from time-to-time for promotion to supervisor level. Many craftspersons use their apprenticeship qualification as a platform to launch careers such as engineers, managers, owners of businesses, teachers and instructors amongst others.
People anxious to advance themselves in their careers are advised to discover for themselves what apportunities are available.
Where apprentices and crafts persons have the necessary ability, initiative and basic qualifications, opportunities are available for advancement. These include advanced technological and management courses which are available in institutes of technology, schools of management, professional institutes, etc.
With experience, you could become a construction site supervisor, or move into related areas like estimating or apprentice training. You could also specialise in decorative brickwork, stonemasonry, or set up your own business.
Getting an Apprenticeship
You must obtain employment as an apprentice in your chosen occupation.
- The employer must be approved to train apprentices.
- The employer must register you as an apprentice within two weeks of recruitment.
Are you interested in a construction apprenticeship?
If so, register your interest by creating an account and uploading a short personal profile via this link.
Finding an employer or registering your interest with an official Coordinating Provider is one of the first things you need to do to start an apprenticeship.
Opportunities for this apprenticeship may be available from the following organisations:
Here are some direct links to employment websites that frequently list apprenticeship vacancies.
Note: These websites may include vacancies that are not QQI accredited Apprenticeships.
Below are the results for an Apprentice from indeed.ie.
Current Apprentice Bricklayer Jobs (Where Available)
Pay & Fees
The employer pays the apprentice while s/he is being trained on-the-job. A training allowance is paid by the local ETB while the apprentice is attending the off-the-job training, and an Apprentice Rate of pay during the on-the-job phases of their apprenticeship. Generally, the rates of pay are based on a percentage of the fully qualified rate for the occupation:
- 1st Years – 33.3%
- 2nd Years – 50%
- 3rd Years – 75%
- 4th Years – 90%
A training allowance is paid by the local ETB to apprentices while attending off-the-job training. In some cases, a contribution towards travel or accommodation costs may be paid if deemed eligible. The sector the apprentice's employer is engaged in will determine the allowance payable. These allowances are calculated on the gross wages paid by industry in each sector. The amount the apprentice gets will generally be less than that, as it is based on the net take-home pay of the relevant sector. The weekly gross wage norms for different industries can be found here
The Annual Student Contribution is charged to students attending Higher Education Institutions including Institutes of Technology (IoT). Apprentices now pay the same contribution as full time students, but their contribution is based on the time they spend in the Institute or College.
The Student Contribution is payable to the IoT /College on the date of registration for the training phase. You should consult the relevant IoT/College for details of payment options.
Note: Apprentices are required to pay an examination fee to the IoT or College for repeat exams. For further information, click here.