Following a lean period lasting several years, the construction industry in the Netherlands has picked up so sharply that a shortage of bricklayers is expected in the short term. In some parts of the country, demand has already outstripped supply. This is causing some projects to stagnate and will probably lead to rising prices for brickwork. This has prompted the Royal Dutch Association for Building Ceramics (KNB) to initiate an additional professional training programme for bricklayer instructors. This will improve bricklayer training and contribute to meeting the European challenge for sustainable construction.
The training programme is directed specifically at instructors at construction colleges for building professionals. In a two-day intensive course, the latest know-how and insights will be presented to the instructors, enabling them to improve their skills. This will raise the standard of skills and training content, but it will also put more fun into bricklaying. After all, fun can encourage young people up to 17 years, and inspire them to train as bricklayers. Meanwhile, the first instructors have received their masonry certificates. And many more will follow.
New requirements and bricklayer championships
The new KNB masonry training programme improves masonry skills, but beyond that it also responds to the new demands for the professional trades in EU policy: sustainable construction, the BUILD UP Skills initiative, but also the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. For sustainable and energy-efficient homes, new construction technologies are being developed that require better qualified personnel. Masonry training should get on board.
Besides the masonry training, KNB has already been organizing the Dutch bricklayers’ championship for apprentices for a long time. It is the longest running professional competition in the Netherlands (for 65 years) and therefore well-known in the masonry sector. Several years ago, the championship was honoured by a royal visit by Queen Beatrix. Aim of this competition is to promote bricklaying and encourage masonry training.