Ken Tunney’s three-decade stint as a bricklayer has been dedicated to developing youth.
The Cheshire-based business owner, who spent time lecturing youngsters at building colleges before returning to the tools, knows what it takes to succeed in the industry.
“I’ve had numerous apprentices over the years and I’ve recently taken on another young lad who is qualified but just needs a bit of guidance and support,” Mr Tunney said.
“I’ve worked in colleges and I’ve come back out into the industry because there are lots of opportunities at the moment.”
Mr Tunney spoke to the Blue Circle Cement products blog to pass on pearls of wisdom to budding brickies looking to get their foot in the door.
Choose the right course
“If you know you want to be a bricklayer, you want to make sure the course you’re doing at your college is the right one. Some colleges offer multi-trade courses, but if you know you want to be a bricklayer, you’re best off honing in on that straight away.”
Attitude is king
“Your attitude is important. You need a willingness to learn and to enjoy being outside. You need someone who can work in warm weather and also someone who can turn up on the cold winter mornings on time. You need someone who is determined to work every single day.”
Persistence will pay off
“It’s a hard trade to learn but once you master it you’re going to earn a decent wage. Wages at the moment are exceptionally good for bricklayers. Just be physically fit and keen to learn.”
Satisfaction easy to come by
“I love working outside, I love working with people. I like the interaction you get with other trades and working part of a bigger team. I get satisfaction standing back and looking at something I’ve completed as a lot of the things we’re building outlive the person. The average house is expected to last 300 years.”
“If your course isn’t full time, or you’re not expected to be in the classroom for the entirety of the course, seek out work experience. Ask around through friends, family and other things to try to get some work experience before they’re in an apprenticeship.”