What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a footballer. About two years ago I was in the South Wales Argus with my football team, showing off our new football kit. However, the older I get the more I realise I wasn’t really good enough to continue, so I looked at other options. I took a BTEC in construction while I was at school and decided that bricklaying had a good career potential. I was really good at it, liked being hands on and enjoyed the work, so I decided to pursue it.
Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?
I chose to study with an apprenticeship so that I could gain lots of hands on experience before I become qualified. Being on site has taught me a lot more than just brickwork. I’ve realised that communication and team work skills are just as important, as you always have to interact with all the different trades people on site, making sure everything is done right.
What qualifications are you working towards?
I’m studying for a Level 2 Diploma and an NVQ Level 2 in Brickwork at Coleg Gwent’s Newport City Campus. My college day is a Tuesday, which works well for me because it’s done at the beginning of the week and then I can concentrate on my site work.
What contractors have you worked with during your apprenticeship?
I have worked with three companies – CJ Construction, Ruessir Ltd and I’m currently placed with ISG. I’m currently working on the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service training centre in Cardiff Gate.
What is it like being on such a unique building site?
It’s really interesting because it’s such a new experience. The site is a lot smaller than other sites I’ve been placed on, and I’m required to use a lot of different techniques. I’ve been able to cut and lay blocks, which I haven’t had the chance to do before. We also use a technique called ‘block and beam’ to make the building more fire proof. On other sites we have used a ‘fire sock’, but the ‘block and beam’ method can be more difficult because its so much heavier than the sock. It’s been good to learn these different ways of doing things.
How would you sum up your apprenticeship?
It’s really different to being in college every day. You learn a lot more being out on site than you do from just being in a classroom. I like that I get to move among different contractors because and network with lots of different people. I’ve worked on flats, a school build and now the training centre. I would like to be on a housing development in the future so that I’ve had a taste of different types of construction sites.
What are you most looking forward to in your career in bricklaying?
I’m looking forward to getting to do the work that I enjoy every day and meet even more master trades people along the way. I think that bricklayers are important to the industry because without us, no buildings would ever be built.