Bricklaying lecturer urges industry professionals to teach

Bricklaying lecturer John Ryan (inset) has urged more in the industry to get into teaching.

Bricklaying lecturer John Ryan (inset) has urged more in the industry to get into teaching. Picture: Weston College South West Skills Campus, Locking Road. - Credit: DFE/Google Street View

An experienced bricklaying lecturer at Weston College has called on more people to opt for part-time teaching following a 'rewarding' career change.

John Ryan, aged 47, has more than 30 years experience as a professional bricklayer and now uses his industry skills to train the next generation in his field.  

Mr Ryan, of Weston, is now calling on all construction workers to use their natural knowledge of the job to teach in higher education roles whilst remaining in their current jobs. 

According to the Association of Colleges (AOC) further education roles in construction and engineering are the two sectors which suffer from the highest levels of teaching vacancies. 

This follows a Department for Education (DfE) recruitment drive to encourage industry professionals to follow in John’s footsteps.  

Weston College bricklaying lecturer John Ryan. 

Weston College bricklaying lecturer John Ryan. - Credit: DFE

Mr Ryan, who is also a Taekwondo teacher and Royal Marine cadet tutor, said: “I love seeing through our learners from their first day of college right through to completing the course with the best first start in their careers.  

“The most rewarding part of the job is seeing the learners through their development and educational journey, gaining the right skills and knowledge to ready them for future employment.

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“During the three lockdown’s, teaching bricklaying over the internet was extremely difficult.  

“You can work through the theory, but you have to come through with ideas.

“To add more practical elements, I bought a Go-Pro camera and filmed demonstrations over Microsoft Teams on how to do bricklaying in my garage.” 

The DfE says nearly half of all employees in the South West would consider teaching in further education either full or part-time, and more than one third of people would like to 'share their skills with the next generation in their field'.  

A spokesperson for the DfE said: "Further education teachers are needed across many subject areas but there is particular demand for workers from the following sectors: health and social care, construction, engineering and manufacturing, legal, finance, accounting and IT. 

“Real-life experience is highly sought after, and teaching and other academic qualifications are not always a pre-requisite for employment as teachers can start earning straight away and do funded training on-the-job.  

“There are rewarding full-time, part-time and flexible contracts available, allowing teaching to balance their hours alongside other professional or personal responsibilities.” 

To find out more about teaching in further education, visit the DfE website at