Our third story in the series “What’s an Apprenticeship Anyways?” brings us more information about Bricklayer Apprenticeships. Bricklayers can work within construction or maintenance work. In construction, bricklayers build walls, chimneys, fireplaces, partitions, and other structures in homes and public buildings. In maintenance work, bricklayers repair existing structures, such as the brick linings in industrial furnaces, kilns, and fireplaces. Bricklayers work with brick, concrete, cinder block, tile, marble, and terra cotta, a ceramic material used for decoration.
Chris Busch, Bricklayer Apprenticeship Coordinator gave an inside look into the field of bricklaying and the registered apprenticeship program in Cedar Rapids.
The four-year registered apprenticeship program grants students the opportunity to take classes and get hands-on experience all while earning a steady wage with benefits. First year apprentices make $15 an hour in addition to $10 in benefits. Apprentices also get raises as they continue the program.
After students are accepted in the program, they are invited into an eight-week class that teaches the different fields of bricklaying and allied craftwork. After the eight weeks, the student can choose what area they want to pursue.
Throughout each year of the apprenticeship, students come back for four weeks to refine and relearn skills. During the four weeks, students also take math, blueprint reading, safety, and CPR and first aid courses.
At Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 3 Iowa, there are 42 students in the registered apprenticeship program.
Chris recommends that students analyze their strengths and find things that they like to do when picking out a career.
“Students must find things that they enjoy and then decide what trades apply to what they like to do,” Busch said.
“Math is very important in our trade. We build structures so we must lay out the beginning of those buildings. Bricklayers must be also precise and be able to manipulate fractions,” Busch said.
Students can also learn about this specific opportunity by seeking out the job profile on Community Promise. These exist for students to see where future talent is needed in the area.