The last time Wayne Swinbourne completed a bricklaying qualification, Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, Aston Villa were European champions and Larry Holmes was the best heavyweight in the world.
Fast forward 38 years and Wayne has just added another vocational brickwork qualification to his CV: a government funded NVQ Level 2 in Trowel Occupations through onsite assessment with DMR Training.
“I left school at 16 and did a City & Guilds bricklaying apprenticeship with a company in Swinton. I’d wanted to be a bricklayer since I was about 12; it’s all I wanted to do,” explains Wayne. “I then worked for a small building firm for eight years before joining a bricklaying gang and I’ve been doing that ever since”.
CSCS cards: “They help keep people who can’t lay bricks off site”
Wayne found himself among a small number of highly-skilled construction workers needing NVQ assessment in order to apply for the CSCS Skilled Worker card. It’s a frustrating position for time-served, experienced workers like Wayne, but he recognises the importance of the system.
“Some see NVQs and CSCS cards as a hassle but they help keep people who can’t lay bricks off site. Now that I have my CSCS card, it’s easier to move from job to job”.
Wayne completed his NVQ over two months. His DMR assessor visited him onsite to help him collect work-based evidence for his NVQ portfolio.
“My assessor came on to site to do an observation. It was very straightforward. We had a professional discussion about bricklaying and he took photographs. He knew I could lay bricks and it was just about gathering the evidence to prove it. I tried to be as in-depth as I could answering the coursework questions. My assessor was excellent – a cracking bloke!”
Quick Return to Action
Wayne was fortunate to complete his NVQ before his site shut in early April due to the Covid-19 crisis. Wayne intends to keep himself in decent shape during the close-down through running and weight training. “It’s looking like another three weeks before we’ll be back on site,” he says.
An avid boxing fan, Wayne was in the MGM Grand Garden Arena when Juan Manuel Márquez floored Manny Pacquiao to win their fourth matchup. Here’s hoping the construction industry gets back on its feet faster than Pacman did that night in Vegas, 12 years ago.
Skills Support for the Workforce
Wayne’s bricklaying NVQ was fully funded by the Skills Support for the Workforce programme – part funded by the European Social Fund. Funding is available for construction workers in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and parts of the Sheffield City Region. Contact us today to find out if you’re eligible.