By News Reporters

Bricklayer standing in front of wall.
Dan Brown, apprentice bricklayer.

Dan Brown takes a pride in his work and the skills he’s learnt over the last couple of years as an apprentice bricklayer.

In September he’ll come to the end of his on-the-job-training with Camden Council and will find out if he’ll be employed with them permanently or if he’ll have to seek employment elsewhere.

It’s something that concerns him and it’s why he’s thinking about his future and what it holds.

Now aged 19, Dan popped out into the world at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead and has spent most of his life in Camden. His family are originally from Scotland and Wales and he now lives in Gresse Street in Fitzrovia. “I was born and bred here,” he says.

It seems like he had a difficult time at school but now he has found work he enjoys and wants to continue doing. Work has given him something that school never did.

“I enjoy my job and the company of the people I work with,” he tells us. “Over the last couple of years I’ve learnt a lot from the people I’ve been working with. I’ve learnt to be proud to do a good job and not to pretend to do anything you can’t do. You never stop learning. There’s always something new.”

We chat about building materials and the different types of sand that’s used depending on whether you are laying bricks or doing paving, and why it’s important to ensure that mortar is mixed correctly and that care is taken with handling tools and machinery.

Dan wants to stay working with Camden and helping to maintain their tenant properties but understands that the future is uncertain. He’s now wondering what will happen if he has to seek a job with another employer or maybe work for himself. He’s thinking about advertising his services as a bricklayer.

When we talk about being self-employed he laughs and says “You’ve given me a lot to think about! It sounds simple at first, but when you mention tax and book-keeping it’s something I’ve not thought about. Perhaps I’m being naive.”

But Dan’s not being naive, he’s only experiencing what many young people are going through. We suggest he asks his supervisor about getting the right information and support to continue working after his apprenticeship, and not to be afraid to ask for advice so that he can build on all he has learnt.

With the youth unemployment rate in the UK at 22 percent Dan is right to be concerned about his future but like most young people he needs not only support but real opportunities and real jobs to apply for.

Dan wants to have a job and be good at it. “I want to build a good reputation as a tradesman. It’s something I really want to do,” he says.