As in other building trades, bricklaying (masonry) work is sometimes strenuous. Prolonged standing, climbing, bending, and kneeling are often necessary. As with any trade, masons are in high demand. Mason can be affiliated with a trade union or not.
The masonry trade can be very rewarding to those types of people who enjoy the challenge of manipulating different material with mortar to build something unique, whether it’s a warehouse, a fireplace or just a planter. The opportunity is endless for those who seek a real challenge.
To become a certified mason, the first step is to secure a job with a masonry contractor. Once that is achieved, the employer will put you to work learning and doing labouring duties to learn the fundamentals of the masonry industry. Safety is always the first objective. Through out your employment, safety and proper methods of doing something is always taught to the new employee. This will include erecting scaffolding properly, mixing mortar and grout, preparing the work site for the masons, learning the proper and safe operation of a forklift, and many more endless items that all pertain to the masonry industry.
After a time of anywhere from six to twelve months of labouring, one is offered to see if they would be interested in becoming an apprentice mason. Once an agreement is in place, the apprentice is registered with Alberta Learning.
The Apprenticeship Program for the Masonry industry is a three year term. The First Year Apprentice is taught the techniques of the tools that are required to do masonry work properly and proficiently. For each year of work in the workplace, the apprentice attends eight weeks of technical training at SAIT Polytechnic. Each year of schooling includes the basic fundamentals of learning the theory of masonry, blue print reading and drafting principles, math pertaining to the masonry trade and hands on training in a shop atmosphere, learning different techniques on various types of projects that the students build over the eight weeks of training.
The Second Year Apprentice learns to expand his knowledge on various other parts of the masonry industry. The Third Year of apprenticeship puts it emphases on various items and topics that would give him the skills to become a well rounded mason with choices to expand them selves for a rewarding career in the masonry industry.