Jamie helps build on success at one of our key sponsor's sites

September 14, 2022

One of our much-valued gold sponsors Hodgkinson Builders is a community-focused company committed to building homes that help build better lives. 

The antics of the bricklayers they employ have even featured on the BBC3 reality show Brickies.

The company is always on the look-out for bricklayers and regularly takes on apprentices. We wanted to play our part to help recruit more of these skilled workers.

Who better than judo ace and Derbyshire Institute of Sport performance academy member Jamie Spencer-Pickup?

Jamie has recently returned from Poland where he competed in the European University Judo Championships, representing the British Universities team.

He popped over to Nether Heage where Hodgkinson’s is building 34 homes for Nottingham Community Housing Association.

After getting kitted out in personal protective equipment and listening to health and safety instructions, Jamie was ready to help.

His teacher was experienced brickie James Boyfield, known as ‘Marv’, who was part of a team working on a two-bed home.

Jamie relished the chance to get his hands dirty and give Marv a hand, first of all mixing the mortar and then laying some bricks in as straight a line as he could.

His verdict? James said: “It was an interesting experience and harder than it looks. I did think Marv would start again with the bricks I laid but he said they were ok, which amazed me!

“Laying hundreds of bricks a day must be hard work but seems to be a great trade to be in. Brickies can earn good money.”

Sixteen of the timber-framed homes at Nether Heage are shared ownership properties, a system ideal for people wishing to get on the housing ladder but do not have money for a cash deposit.

They buy a proportion of the property and pay rent on the remainder to the housing association. The project has received funding from Homes England and should be completed in this winter.

Hodgkinson’s office manager Sophia Jelaca looks after the apprentice team made up of seven men and one woman.  

Jamie lays his first brick under the watchful eye of Marv

Sophia said: “The bricklaying apprentice apprenticeships can take between 18 months and three years to complete, depending on the training provider they are linked to.

“Our apprentices go to college one day a week and they are on site for four days. Currently we have apprentices at Nottingham College, Derby College and the NHBC training hub at Tamworth.

“The young people we train learn a lot on the job. They have to know about site behaviours, health and safety and get to interact with the more experienced bricklayers and other tradespeople. They pick up the tips and tricks of the trade.

“It is a fantastic job for the right person and they become proud of completing the job of building homes for families.  

“Crucial for all our bricklayers is that they must have a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card, be over 18 and be able to easily commute to different locations. Our sites are spread across the country so they must be mobile.”

Hodgkinson’s is currently working on sites in Leicester, Mansfield, Northampton, Derby and Stoke-on-Trent.

If anyone is interested in becoming a bricklayer, contact Sophia

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