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Bricklaying apprentice Morgan impresses in national competition

Female bricklaying apprentice from Barnsley College, Morgan Simmons, leans on a wall she has built at the Guild of Bricklayers competition. Behind her in the workshop are two other competitors also working on brickwork.

Morgan Simmons at the Guild of Bricklayers competition.


A Barnsley College apprentice has been lauded as one of the top bricklayers in the country after placing highly in a national competition – where she was the only female competitor.

Morgan Simmons, currently studying a Level 2 Bricklayer Apprenticeship Standard, came third in her category at the Guild of Bricklayers 2024 Yorkshire Regional Heat.

The Guild, formed in 1932, runs the competition annually to find the UK’s best young bricklayer, with Yorkshire’s leg taking place at Bishop Burton College, near Beverley, Hull.

Morgan was entered into the junior category in the competition – the middle of three categories based on the competitors’ experience level, between novices and seniors.

In a technical challenge, she was tasked with building a double skinned, 13-course high five-brick wall with a two-brick return pillar – using soldiers, projecting bricks and differently coloured bricks to create decorative features, keeping to strict measurements dictated by the judges.

Morgan said: “I really enjoyed taking part in the competition and I think it has helped me develop skills and knowledge for my career in the future.

“At first I was nervous, seeing so many other competitors there, but soon I realised I was just happy to be there – and this is just what I do for a living!

“My tutor Sean has been helping me practise my decorative brickwork as that’s what the competition was all about. So, I felt pretty prepared.

“There were many talented bricklayers there so I’m just happy I placed and had a chance to take part – especially being the only girl there!”

Morgan is currently working with Persimmon Homes on a site for new-build houses – saying she loves building houses ‘someone will one day call a home’.

Once qualified and after ‘some good years of grafting’, she is hoping to work abroad for a few years.

“As a girl in the bricklaying industry, I do believe it’s an amazing career,” she added.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a job for the weak! So I understand why it’s male-dominated – the rain, the cold weather, then the heat waves, and the constant heavy lifting…

“However, with determination and a strong mind, you can do anything you set your mind to.

“My favourite part of my job is definitely the feeling of creating something out of nothing, looking back and seeing the projects you’ve built coming together.”

The Guild of Bricklayers said: “This venerable event not only celebrates the rich heritage of bricklaying but also sets the stage for emerging talents to showcase their skills, vying for the coveted title of the UK’s top junior bricklayer.”

For more information on the Construction courses, including the Level 2 Bricklayer Apprenticeship, available to study at Barnsley College, visit the Construction web page.

You can also call the Information Unit on 01226 216 123 or email info@barnsley.ac.uk.

Last updated: 8th April 2024

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