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Bricklayer and Plasterer
Bricklayers and plasterers are usually the first tradesmen employed on a building project where they are responsible for the building of the inner and outer walls of the building as well as the finishing of these structures. The bricklaying and plastering trade is one of the oldest trades in the building industry and has not changed much since the early days. The material used has developed and changed to a great extent

Bricklaying still consists mostly of placing bricks and blocks on top on one another whilst following the three rules of plumb, level and straight.

Plastering comprises the artistic and functional covering and finishing of the interior and exterior walls of building according to specifications and design.

Bricklayers are skilled journeymen who construct and repair walls, partitions, steps, free standing piers, arches, fireplaces and other structures made of brick, concrete block or masonry materials. They may specialize in one type of masonry material such as firebrick or cinder block work.

Bricklayers first study the blueprints or building plans to check specifications and determine the most accurate layout. Mortar is then mixed and a layer or bed of mortar is spread as a base, after which bricks are positioned by hand to assure a neat, uniform appearance. Excess mortar is cut off. Mortar joints are then finished off so that moisture cannot penetrate.

Bricklayers must have a thorough knowledge of the different types of bricks that are available, also of the correct mortar mixtures and of how to adapt building methods to different weather conditions. They need to know how to weld metal supports for bricks. In addition, they may supervize helpers.

Bricklaying and plastering is hard but satisfying work. Bricklayers sometimes have to work in harsh weather conditions, for long hours to meet deadlines. Most bricklayers and plasterers work at construction sites that may be dirty and noisy. Others perform building and repair work for industries, business and government concerns. Some work for private homeowners doing small building projects such as fireplaces or patios.

Satisfying Aspects
- working with one's hands
- working on different projects
- usually good employment opportunities

Demanding aspects
- doing strenuous work
- lay-offs during cold or rainy periods
- the possibility of injury or accidents on the job
- working in noisy and dirty environments
- sometimes having to travel to find work

Bricklayers should:
- be at least 16 years old
- enjoy working with your hands
- enjoy working with others
- enjoy performing accurate, detailed work
- be healthy and strong
- have stamina
- have the ability to understand the drawings of architects and engineers
- have the ability to visualize a finished project
- have manual dexterity
- have potential entrepreneurial aptitude
- some artistic ability is very useful

School Subjects
Grade 9 Certificate.
Grade 10 Certificate or N1 is recommended.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics

There are three ways to qualify as a registered artisan:

1. An apprenticeship is a 4-year contract between company and apprentice, comprising a 12-week theoretical training, which includes 4 subjects at national exam level.

2. A learnership is a structured learning programme that leads to a qualification in a certain field. The learnership programme includes a theoretical and a practical component. It usually takes about a year to complete. The training takes place on-site (on the premises of the organisation). This has the advantage that the learner gets on-the-job experience whilst training.

3. FET colleges offer theoretical training to prospective artisans via the new National Certificate Vocational (NCV). During this 3-year programme (levels 2 to 4), learners complete a school-leaving certificate (this NCV) similar to the
new National Senior Certificate (NSC) in schools. They are also exposed to a practical workshop component.

All learners are required to complete a practical internship under the supervision of an experienced artisan. As an alternative to doing the full qualification, a learner can apply to do a skills programme at a FET College. Skills programmes are short practical hands-on courses.

For more information about qualifications and skills programmes, contact your nearest FET College. FET Colleges are accredited and funded by a SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) such as MERSETA or CHIETA. They also receive bursary funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the NCV programme.

Learners must all receive training in occupational safety and first aid, fire-fighting and preventative security measures. Learners study everything about the installation, maintenance and repair of all electrical equipment. They must also become familiar with municipal legislation relevant to electricity supply and consumption.

- building trade, general contractors
- government concerns
- construction businesses
- self-employment, with the necessary experience can trade on a private basis or start own business

Master Builders South Africa (MBSA)
P O Box 1619
Halfway House, 1685
CMA Office and Conference Park
234 Alexandra Avenue
Tel: (011) 205-9000 Fax: (011) 315-1644