Recently we collected a few off-the-cuff responses from some South Australian apprentices on their early impressions on the job, giving a realistic insight into what it’s like starting out in bricklaying:
They said about their first day:
- “The first day was ‘Bloody Hot’ in the middle of an SA summer.”
- “It was a lot harder than expected with mixing mud and stacking bricks, but it felt good to work hard. Slept well that night.”
- “I was thinking what am I doing? But it got easier.”
Expectations from their bosses were:
- To follow instructions and take the time to make sure you do things right.
- To mix a consistent standard of mortar and to keep in front of the brickies.
- Stack bricks, mix mortar and clean the site.
We asked: What was the ‘real world’ like as a bricklayer now and did it get better?
- “Much better, less of the labouring side, more laying bricks, watching my boss and trying to keep up and copy his actions.”
- “It’s not as bad now because I am stronger and my body is used to the work. I do a lot less labouring and would be laying bricks 90% of the time.”
- “It’s good now, I get to lay bricks full time, set out brickwork and do most things the boss would. I have always enjoyed it.”
The apprentices added some unforgettable humorous moments on site:
- “My boss falling in a barrow of mud down the hill.”
- A co-worker was shadow boxing a bag of lime and it busted and covered him from head to toe. He was coughing up lime for a week.”
- Dropping my first barrow of mortar, slipped trying to get a run up to go up a hill, barrow went over. I fell in the mortar, while the boss watched and laughed. One of the boss’s policies was, if you drop a barrow of mud, then you have to buy a carton of beer out of your wage. This hurts when you’re only a first year!”