The recovery in the construction industry, first led by housing and forecast to follow in commercial and infrastructure sectors, has led to reported skills shortages throughout the industry. Those working in project design or for clients and developers are in demand as are the hands on skills in factories and on site. Bricklaying is no different, but because it is a trade that is easily understood and ubiquitous it is more likely than other trades or professions to be used as an example for pressure on construction skills.
Bricklaying is a fundamental and widespread skill for the construction industry – both new build and RMI, small scale projects and large. Therefore there is a well developed, extensive and geographically spread network of training providers who can deliver the necessary training and assessment to provide even more qualified brick layers. In contrast to skill shortages for other trades and professions, the period of training is relatively short and hence the employment market can respond relatively quickly to increased demand. As with the whole construction industry, short term peaks can be met by skills from European neighbours.
Image: Students from Barking and Dagenham College, work with MMA member associations to build construction details for the High Performance Housing feature at Ecobuild 2015.