Construction was my first choice from school, and I was lucky as I had a job lined up through my rugby coach. I started out as a plumber, but they set me up with a bricklaying apprenticeship, which is good because I’d rather be outside enjoying the weather. My dog comes with me too on some days and has a run at lunchtime.
These days I own a successful bricklaying business. In four years we’ve gone from just me and my friend being on the tools regularly to up to ten guys working for us.
But it hasn’t been easy building a team. Often you find that the best people are already working, which is where an apprentice comes in. They can spend time every week at college, learning new things. And then when they come on-site, they get to try out the practical application of those skills and good practice. I’ve learned I can approach CITB to ask about people who are actively looking for an apprenticeship, which helps us and helps them to get a good job at the end of it. It’s my way of giving something back for the chance I was given.
On an average day, we get to site at around half-seven and set up the tools. We send the labourers out to mix up and then we get laying. We’ll run till about half-four, depending on how we’re going, and then have a social drink. The social element is an important part and good fun if you like the craic. I enjoy it.
You don’t just meet one kind of person on-site. There’s everyone from surveyors to labourers, from different walks of life, so it pays to get to know people and get on well with them.
I’ve found working in the industry so rewarding. It’s helped me to move up the property ladder in a relatively short period of time, and I’m proud to have built my own extensions. I love being able to bring my kids up in a lovely home and give them the very best.
Work hard, play hard is my motto. There are so many different careers to choose from, but if you find something that you like, stick to it and work hard at it – you’ll reap the rewards, and then some.
Funded through the investment of the CITB levy.