Saturday, May 30, 2015

I want to be a carpenter is there anything I need to know about the job?


I want to be a carpenter is there anything I need to know about the job?


As young adults are thinking about what they want to do in life one of the questions that they should be asking themselves is if they should be going into the trades. It’s a serious question, more serious then it was a decade ago.

A decade ago young adults were told to go to college or university because that was the only way someone could make a comfortable living with a good job that will last a lifetime. Well that has all changed as the cost of secondary education has gone through the roof and the prospect of getting any job in your field of study is still slim to none.

This has people looking around for something that they can do without incurring a lot of debt just to get qualified to work for a company. That is bringing people to the trades.

We in the construction industry have been hoping that young adults would start to come back to the trades, the one thing that we have noticed is that people are coming into the trades without fully realizing what it entails to work as a tradesmen.

You asked about carpenters, here are some things you need to understand about being a carpenter;

Carpenters require strong math skills. Carpenters are required to use math every hour of the day. You don’t have to be able to do advanced calculus but you do have to be able to have strong basics in math. You must also be able to do math quickly as time is money when you are a carpenter.

You must be able to be in charge of people. You must be able to work with other people and give them orders. Being a carpenter means being the leader and you must set a good example.

Carpenters have a lot of responsibility. Carpenters are in charge of quality control, safety, crew moral, working conditions, material ordering, equipment and keeping a job moving.

You must be able to work in imperial and metric. Most children in Canada are taught in metric, they know millimetres, centimetres and metres but what carpenters will have to learn is to be able to work in imperial. Imperial is inches and feet. That means that you will have to be able to do fractions and be able to add, subtract and multiply in them as well.

Carpenters have to work inside and outside. They will have to work outside in all manner of weather conditions not just the sunshine of the summer, carpenters are asked to work in the rain, the wind and the cold snow of the Canadian winter.

Carpentry is a physical job and requires you to be physically fit. People who come into the trades not expecting to have to work hard physically usually don’t last long. Being a carpenter means that a lot of times you will be going home physically and mentally tired at the end of the day.

Carpenters are going to be asked to work at heights. That means that if you’re scared of heights then you better learn to get over it because every carpenter has to work off the ground at some point. Sometimes you will be standing on top of a roof with a rope harness, sometimes you will be 30 or 40 feet up at the top of a ladder without anything to tie off too and sometimes you could be even higher off the ground if you are in an aerial lift.

You must be able to learn. Carpenters even after they become licensed are required to constantly learn new things as home building is always changing and evolving.

You must be able to work safely. Safety is one of the biggest aspects of working on a construction site today. Being a carpenter means that you must set the safety standards for everyone around you.

You must be prepared to buy your own tools. You usually don’t have to buy all your own tools but you should be prepared to buy a certain amount of tools because depending on what company you are working for you will required to bring certain tools to the job as a condition of your employment.

No matter what you did in school whether it was a college carpentry course or a wood shop course in high school when you are hired by a construction company you will have to start at the bottom as a labourer. You might not like it but it’s the easiest way for a company to make sure that you are properly trained in safety and in the rules of the construction company before letting you use power tools that could injure you or somebody around you.

To be a licensed carpenter you must work as a carpenter. You cannot become a carpenter just by schooling, you must put somewhere in the neighbourhood of 6500 hrs in as a carpenter before you will be able to challenge the test that will make you a licensed carpenter.

Make sure that if you want to be a carpenter you get hired by a company that will sponsor you for the carpenter program. If you work for a company that won’t sign off on you enrolling in the carpenters apprentice program then the hours you work for that company will not count toward your total hours that you need before they let you write the test.

Being a carpenter can be a tough job but it is also a very rewarding job, carpenters are one of the last jobs where once you’re professionally trained you should almost never be unemployment.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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