Illustration of how the bricklayer, on clearing the footings of a wall, builds up six or eight courses of bricks at the external angles
A bricklayer, which is related to but different from a mason, is a craftsman who lays bricks to construct brickwork. The terms also refer to personnel who use blocks to construct blockwork walls and other forms of masonry. In British and AustralianEnglish, a bricklayer is colloquially known as a "brickie". A stone mason is one who lays any combination of stones, cinder blocks, and bricks in construction of building walls and other works. The main difference between a bricklayer and a true mason is skill level: bricklaying is a part of masonry and considered to be a "lower" form of masonry, whereas stonemasonry is a specialist occupation involved in the cutting and shaping of stones and stonework.
Bricklaying and masonry are ancient professions that even centuries later require modern training. Masons must attend trade school and/or serve apprenticeships requiring they demonstrate they know how to protect homes from humidity or water ingress, know about thermal insulation, and know about the science of construction material and occupational health and safety. While some online sites say they can get you certified in a little as 30 days, most bricklayers today attend vocational or technical schools and receive in-depth and thorough training.
It is likely that as long as man seeks shelter from the elements, there will be work for these skilled professionals. While steel and glass make up the modern skyscraper, it is hard to imagine a world where the work of a mason is not held in high demand and esteem.
Italian-American author John Fante featured hod carriers, bricklayers, and stonemasons prominently in several novels and short stories. This was due to the autobiographical nature of much of Fante's writing; his father, Nick, was an Italian-born bricklayer descended from — at least in Fante's fictions — a long line of Italian artisan bricklayers and stonemasons. Fante also spent a significant portion of his youth apprenticed to his father.
The long-running British children's TV series Look and Read featured "Bill the Brickie" ("brickie" being a British and Australian colloquialism for "bricklayer"), who would 'build' words with bricks to demonstrate the use of morphemes, such as '-ed' or '-ing'.