Every industry has its 'urban legends'. Bricklaying, as you might imagine, would lend itself very nicely to an amazing story or two. You will, no doubt, come across bricklayers who claim to be able to lay a thousand bricks a day, day in day out! It is perfectly possible for bricklayers to lay a 1000 bricks in a day IF they are throwing them into footings or they have an easy long stretch of wall to go at with no openings and doing a straight forward bond. To be able to lay an average of 600 a day is considered to be a realistic attainment.

In the USA, they even have their own annual bricklaying Olympics to decide who is the world's best, entitled the Spec Mix Bricklayer, which is held at the World of Concrete/Masonry Trade Show, Las Vegas. Last year's winner laid 791 bricks in one hour! One way of preparing for the contest was by using a mortar mix of sand and lime, which is missing the key ingredient, Portland cement. The mortar doesn't harden and can be used over and over again. This allows for a 26-foot wall to be built, taken apart and then built again. It doesn't take long to bring it all back down fast, as the sand never hardens.

Training to be a bricklayer is fairly straightforward and the fundamentals can be learnt in different ways, from weekend courses to intensive training periods of 5 days, 10 days to 6 weeks. You can also take a 2 day course so get to learn how to lay paving - for the nation's number one favourite outdoor feature, the patio!Currently there are about 3,000 construction workers on site at the London Olympics - including thousands of bricklayers, wood workers, electricians, security guards, engineers and plumbers - with the number set to increase to 11,000 next year and reach 30,000 by 2012. In addition, there will be 50,000 jobs permanently created as a result of all Olympic site facilities.

The building of a 400 million pound multi-media centre at the Olympic site is also about to commence and its' fairly safe to say that the urgent requirement for record breaking bricklayers is no urban myth !