How to become a bricklayer: Australian careers in building and construction

Bricklayers work alongside other builders in the construction industry to build and repair architectures that involve bricks or another stone-like material, be it a wall, fireplace, foundations, archways or similar. Bricklayers, which sometimes referred to as a mason, use cement, stone and brick to work on both residential and commercial projects. Usually starting as an apprenticeship, there are plenty of ways to gain access to this industry, with job opportunities looking promising over the coming years.

  • Task Career in focus: What a bricklayer does

    Bricklayers, or “brickies” as nicknamed in Australia, neatly and efficiently lay bricks or similar in a type of mortar to form a structure. You will work on building sites, collaborating alongside carpenters, plumbers, tilers and other construction workers involved in the project to complete work as outlined in planning documentation. You will find yourself working on all sorts of projects such as paving, cutting hard materials like cinder block, walls, arches and even artistic creations for an ornamental affect.

    Tasks:

    • Read and understand building plans
    • Understanding of how your work impacts and is impacted by other construction
    • Work neatly and quickly on the task at hand
    • Work with different materials such as brick, stone and cinder
    • Perform repair and maintenance tasks on structures
  • Skills Core qualities: What skills do I need to be a bricklayer?

    If you think you’d enjoy working as a bricklayer, you will also need to consider the physical requirements of the job, which at times can be demanding. You will need to work as part of a team and able to effectively communicate your issues and concerns, should you envisage problems down the track. The role of a bricklayer requires a practical, common sense approach, with the ability to follow instruction and understand planning blueprints.

    Skills/attributes
    • Able to meet physical fitness requirements
    • Good at working with your hands
    • Ability to work as part of a team as well as by yourself
    • Common sense and good work ethic
    • Able to read construction plans and work safely
  • Specialisations The field: Specialisations within building and construction

    Although most bricklayers work independently as contractors, there are opportunities to gain permanent employment with construction industries or work in council development. Further studies can see you branch out into stone masonry or conservation work.

    Arch builder

    The process of building arches can be extremely complicated and requires someone who understands the different requirements for such a structure. You will work with shaping different bricks to build the arch as well as implementing repair and maintenance programs.

    Stonemason

    Stonemasons work primarily with crafting, shaping and cutting all kinds of stone, from hard limestone to soft sandstone. They work in a variety of contexts, including the restoration of heritage buildings, new construction projects, making tombstones and other monuments, ornamental sculpture work and polishing or restoring stone surfaces for cosmetic purposes. As a highly specialised trade, there are health and safety qualifications pertaining to working on a construction site that must be met prior to employment. 

    Refractory bricklayer

    Refractory bricklayers install cement, stone and brick that can withstand high temperatures, such as in an industrial furnace. This is often work completed for gas or mining companies, and usually requires a sound understanding of building materials as well as WHS protocols.

    Chimney builder

    Similar to a refractory bricklayer, chimney builders need a good understanding of materials that can tolerate hot conditions that a chimney will face in its lifetime, as well as requirements in residential or commercial building codes.

  • Pathways The right track: Find study options for becoming a bricklayer

    If you think bricklaying is the job for you, check out the many opportunities below to get you started in an apprenticeship.

    Starting Out

    Complete an apprenticeship in bricklaying and block laying to kick-start your career. Most people in the construction industry will undertake a TAFE course where they are required to do an apprenticeship alongside theoretical study.

    Building Skills

    Undertake skill and safety training to develop your skills in the construction industry.

    Developing Your Resume

    As an employed bricklayer, develop additional skills by undertaking different specialist training courses for professional accreditation. You will be able to add these skills to your resume, making you a better prospect for employment.

    Industry Recognition

    There are lots of construction, bricklaying and stone masonry bodies that you can earn recognition through to help boost your professional reputation. Check out the resource section to find those that are relevant to your state or territory.

    Entering the workforce

    Get a head start in your bricklaying career by developing a great job application. Check out our sample resumes and cover letters to give you some ideas.

    Job prospects in building and construction: Working life as a bricklayer

    Although the industry recently fell slightly in the last ten years, it is predicted to be on the up again, with growth in Australia’s construction industry. On average, a bricklayer’s yearly salary is estimated at $51,668 at around $27.33 as an hourly rate.

Bricklaying Resources:

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