Hull bricklayer builds a career in site management

A 29-year-old former bricklayer has qualified as a chartered construction manager after achieving chartered membership of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). 

When he was 16 years old, Liam Brown started a three-year apprenticeship in bricklaying with Yorkshire and Lincolnshire construction firm, Hobson & Porter. During that time, he won the Ian Brown Memorial Hull College Award for the most outstanding apprentice on a NVQ Level 3 bricklaying course, and the Arnold Laver Award for the most outstanding learner.

Liam Brown, MCIOB, said: “When I was at school, I took a construction module and loved the practical side of it, so I knew it was something I wanted to get involved with. My dad was a bricklayer, so I decided to follow in his footsteps and fortunately secured an apprenticeship in my hometown of Hull with Hobson & Porter.

“In my first two years of the apprenticeship I was at Hull college for a four-week block and then on site with Hobson & Porter for the next four weeks, so it was a great mix of theory and practical experience. In my third year I was at college one day and one evening a week and the rest of the time I was on-site. I enjoyed being part of their team and I learnt so much.

“After qualifying, I stayed with Hobson & Porter for a year and a half before becoming self-employed for a couple of years. In 2017, I returned to Hobson & Porter, as I missed working with the team, and in the September of that year the firm suggested I complete a site supervisor course.

“On completion, I assisted on various projects before being giving the responsibility of undertaking my own projects as a site manager. After advancing and developing my skills within the roll, I then enrolled on a site manager course and completed an NVQ Level 4 in site management in 2021. From there it was a gradual process, completing an NVQ Level 6 in January of this year. After that I applied for chartered status and had to complete a lot of coursework to achieve chartered membership of the CIOB.”

Director Jacquie Blades from Hobson & Porter said: “Liam completed his apprenticeship in bricklaying with us and then started on our site manager development programme, expanding his knowledge and studying, all whilst working on several of our projects. This is a fantastic achievement, and he is a great example of how you can progress in our industry with the right support.”

Liam added: “I didn’t set out to become a site manager, but with the financial support and encouragement from Hobson & Porter, it all felt achievable. I now oversee the day to day running of projects like The Guildhall’s restoration in Hull, which is very rewarding. I work with, and manage subcontractors, look after health and safety on-site and organise the programming and planning of works, so each day is varied and interesting.

“I’m most proud of working on the major re-roofing programme at The Guildhall and the restoration of its famous Time Ball and its internal mechanism. To see the improvements and repairs that have been made to the clock tower and its historic stonework is fantastic. I have also worked on projects for Hull College and St Mary’s School in York and will be starting on-site at Clifton Green School in York on a six-week summer holiday refurbishment soon.

“Despite not laying bricks anymore, there is still a practical element to project management, and I get to oversee projects from start to finish, rather than just being responsible for one part of it. I enjoy working with the quantity surveyors to make sure budgets and schedules are met and I get to interact with so many different people. I would definitely recommend the route I have taken to other young people starting out or already working in construction.”