Below is an graph and a video. The graph shows clearly that human progress continues to increase, not only does it increase, but every decade we are able to progress even faster than previous generations. The video is the proof of this progress, you have probably seen this video of a robot dog being kicked around and reacting with life like movements.
So what does all this mean for bricklayers and apprentices. If I said to you that a robot could likely take over your job within 10 years, you would not believe me, probably because we see robots in movies so often and we consider that to be make believe. Look at the graph and then look at the video and then consider how far humans have come in the last 30 years compared to the last 1000 years, the speed at which we can invent and improve new things gets faster the more advanced we become. Please, for the sake of our childrens profession and career options, take this post seriously.
I fear rapid increase in technological advancements will likely hold Bricklayer apprentices back and possibly risk future employment. The slow to change approach for the masonry industry as a whole will severely hurt the industry and training institutions, in the coming years we will see a drop in the masonry industry for a short time as industry leaders phase out the old and phases into a more technologically advanced labour force and possibly open the bricklaying profession up to alternative and new means of labour, at which point the cost of labour will initially rise but then drop dramatically as new, more skilled and more efficient labour forces become cheaper and cheaper.
Brickies and labourers are doing an ancient craft in a exceedingly modern world. It will be a sad day to see Bricklaying as a trade be replaced by mechanical devices controlled by fewer and fewer men, apprenticeships need to be modernised soon so it appeals to young people and so it keeps up with the rate of progress in our technologically advanced society.
If you are asking ‘What the hell do we do?!’ don’t worry there is hope, bricklayers of the future will be faced with a choice, become a machine operator/programmer or find a new profession. To be trained as a bricklaying machine operator/programmer, one would still need to learn how to lay bricks. however it is likely that 1 bricklayer will command more than 1 machine at a time and each machine will be able to operate autonomously, bricklayer apprentices will likely graduate directly to site-foreman (or similar) and machine workers will do the hard labour.