Climbing the career ladder: top tips from a regional bricklayer apprentice

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apprentice bricklayer Andrew Waddingham
Apprentice bricklayer Andrew Waddingham

In celebration of National Apprenticeship Week, a Barratt Homes apprentice in Suffolk has imparted his words of wisdom for those looking to begin a career in construction.

Andrew Waddingham, 21, is doing his Level 2 Diploma in Bricklaying at Suffolk New College in Ipswich, whilst on block release at Barratt Homes’ Knight’s Park development in Watton, Norfolk.

Having started his apprenticeship aged 19, he’s already attained key skills and learned valuable lessons to stand him in good stead for a bright future in construction.

Andrew said: “The most important thing to note is that age doesn’t matter when it comes to an apprentice. I’ve worked with people of various ages throughout my training.”

National Apprenticeship Week brings communities together to celebrate the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy.

Whether it’s embarking on a first role after leaving school or simply searching for a new career path, Andrew has revealed his top tips for making the most of an apprenticeship:

Research and do the leg work

When first considering an apprenticeship, it’s important to carry out the research to find the correct path and, whilst the internet is a valuable tool, sometimes the old school ways are just as effective.

Andrew said: “If you have a choice between an apprenticeship five miles or 30 miles from home, you’d often go for the closer option. This isn’t always the best solution so make sure look into the offer in detail before securing your choice.

“I’d also recommend physically going out and asking around. There’s a chance that a company is looking for apprentices and asking the question face-to-face might encourage them to give you an opportunity.

“Starting out, you just want to get your foot in the door so the salary shouldn’t be a priority. You need to look closely at the progression paths that are likely to place you in a strong position in the future.”

Barratt Homes’ apprenticeships cover levels one to four, with the fourth level being an Assistant Site Manager, providing an excellent opportunity to grow within the company.

Maximum effort for maximum reward

It’s imperative to put in the effort to ensure you get the most out of an apprenticeship, and this applies both before and after starting.

During an interview with a potential employer, any research carried out in advance will shine through and let the company know the apprenticeship is being taken seriously.

Andrew added: “The main objective is to just be the best of yourself by learning along the way. Anyone that doesn’t give 100% is only going to end up back where they started.

“If a company sees an apprentice enjoying their role and putting in the work, they’ll have a lot more confidence in them becoming a successful asset to the team.

“I’d suggest occasionally asking for an extra bit of the ‘hard’ work; as if you’re continuously doing relaxing tasks then you’re not getting anything out of the training.”

Shadow the professionals

Apprentices like Andrew are learning from the best as Barratt Homes prides itself on its award-winning site teams.

In order to reach the top, it’s important to learn from the experienced industry professionals, and the time spent on site is a fantastic opportunity to pick their brains on how to become successful in the field.

Andrew continued: “The day after my interview I was asked to go to Knights Park to introduce myself to the site team and, even before I’d started, I’d met the site manager, contracts manager and the bricklayers I’d be working with. Everyone knew how much I wanted the career I chose and they had the utmost respect for me.

“It’s what changes you as a person. You need to take note of the advice you’re given and listening to those around me has greatly benefited my career.”

As one of the highlights of his career so far, Andrew was named the runner-up in the National Apprentice of the Year Awards, having already been named the winner of his region.

For further information about any roles available with the homebuilder, please visit