Lecturer Carl Curtis explained that their aim is to develop the internal competition so that BGLZ and Pontypool Campus students can also take part. Staff are currently in discussion with Lovell about the overall winner of such a competition becoming an apprentice.
“The opportunities for brick workers in Newport are phenomenal. The government is saying we need to build more houses and it is a skill that you can take wherever you want. These types of competition are good for your CV and companies are always looking for apprentices,” added Carl.
After their first year which is full time in college, most students will study an NVQ one day a week in college and work on-site as an apprentice for four days a week.
Acting Head of School, Steve Llewellyn said: “In this competition we were looking for the standards that would be looked for in industry, typically clean work and everything meeting all specifications. It was a real challenge and there was a good effort by everyone.”
Lecturer Philip Jones further outlined the opportunities for bricklayers: “It is probably the highest paid trade in Wales with average wage of £440 per thousand bricks laid and on average you can lay 3,000 bricks a week so you could be earning £1,300 a week. Across the Severn Bridge you can earn £1,500 to £1,700 a week. I’ve got two third year apprentices on £1,700 a week so I know it’s achievable!”
Bricklaying demands a range of skills from technical aptitude to being a team player yet still being a good independent worker.
Many bricklayers who started out as apprentices have taken their careers to higher and diverse levels within the building and construction industries. From managing their own bricklaying gangs; to managing their own building businesses and holding major positions in national construction companies.