The construction industry is now the third largest employer in British Columbia, providing jobs for roughly 10% of BC’s workforce. With a booming housing market, increased investment in apartments and condos, a growing population, and a relatively strong economy it’s no wonder that the construction industry has experienced huge growth since the turn of the century. As far as the work force is concerned, most employees are male, outnumbering women nine to one, and about nine out of ten workers are employed full time. Due to the nature of the job, most construction workers will spend a good deal of time outdoors, which is why employment in this industry is typically seasonal. Therefore, if you’re just starting out in this industry it’s a good idea to apply for work in early spring before the busy summer months. Since construction activity takes place all over BC there is a lot of flexibility for most general labourers; however, because specialized workers are often needed for region-specific projects, what you do will largely dictate where you end up in BC. Heavy projects that are resource dependent (dams or power generating stations) will usually be located in more remotely populated areas. So if you’re planning a career in this industry you will want to decide if you want to be fixed in one location or if you’re willing to move around.
That being said, if you’re looking to ply your hand in a really versatile and dynamic industry, here are a number of Red Seal jobs that may be of interest:
Boilermakers are skilled tradespersons who construct, repair, and install steel fabrications that typically contain liquids or gases. Most often these fabrications are steam or hot water boilers used to heat domestic or commercial buildings. To repair or construct such vessels, boilermakers use oxy-acetylene gas torches to cut steel plates and tubes, followed by specialized welding to fit and join sections and valves. Construction boilermakers will also test such systems for leaks and defects to ensure that both structures and workers are well protected from injury. This may occasionally require the installation of heat-resistant materials around such structures, as well as frequent repair and replacement of components to ensure the tubes are in good working order.
Career Profile on WorkBC
A bricklayer or mason fits together bricks, concrete blocks, stone, or structural tiles to construct and repair walls, foundations, or other structures. In order to lay bricks properly a mason is required to learn the science of such construction material, as well as how to prepare the surfaces and ingredients and properly apply the mortar or cement. In addition to structural work, a mason may also work on a number of residential projects that may include the restoration of old brick work, ornamental walls, patios, chimneys, glass blocks, and other decorative installations. Since bricklayers will be working with very heavy materials everyday, they should be in good physical condition and very familiar with safety protocols.
Highlights from the 2012 Bricklaying Championship
Carpenter duties are largely dependent on whether the project is residential or commercial. Typically, a carpenter works to build and repair structures made of wood or wood-substitutes. They will spend a lot time assembling and erecting forms for concrete, building wood and metal frames, installing roof systems, or shaping interior structures (cabinetry, furniture making, and joinery to name a few). Within the carpentry trade there are many specializations that you can enter into, ranging from finish carpenters to coopers and framers to name a few. Most carpenters work for construction companies or contractors, but some are self employed or employed as maintenance workers. Carpenters will need excellent math, dexterity, and observation skills, since many of their projects require precise measurements and a steady hand.
Career Trek Episode
An Electricians main duties involve assembling, installing, testing, and maintaining electrical systems and equipment that provide heat, light, power, or control in residential and commercial buildings. Essentially, they ensure that the electrical systems and apparatuses at home or in businesses are safe to operate and in proper working order. Although the type of work will vary between jobs, most electricians will read and interpret building plans and wire installations, cut and assemble conduits and electrical fittings, splice and join wire, position and install control equipment like fuse enclosures or circuit breaker panel boards, and test electrical circuits. Electricians will need good reading skills to interpret plans and electrical code, and the ability to distinguish colours to work with colour-coded wiring, as well as good mechanical skills to troubleshoot and repair equipment.
Ironworkers erect structural steel components, reinforce steel, install conveyors and robotic equipment, and reconstruct existing buildings and bridges. They generally read drawings and specifications, unload and stack steel units, erect scaffolding and crane derricks, assemble rigging, and position steel units so bolt holes can be aligned and joined. Many ironworkers are also involved in the demolition of structures and salvage, and the planning and coordination of equipment and materials. Ironworkers need to be versatile and adaptable, as they are required to perform many tasks. They also need to be comfortable with heights and have good balance and agility to avoid injury, since much of the work takes place on high scaffolding or structures.
Ironworker Profile Video on JobsTVNews
A plumber’s job includes the planning, installation, and maintenance of plumbing systems, fixtures, and equipment controls in both residential and commercial buildings. The type of plumbing a plumber does will vary dramatically depending on whether they work in a residential or commercial outfit. In a residential setting a plumber will typically do the “roughing in” after the frame of the building is in place, and then return when the drywall and tile has been set to do the “finishing” work, which may include the installation of sinks, dishwashers, and toilets. A commercial plumber may work in restaurant kitchens, swimming pools, sewage treatment plants, or other public water systems. Plumbers may also work with natural gas systems as well as various mechanisms related to heating/cooling. In general plumbers cut, shape, and join pipes and elbow joints, and test for leaks in new and repaired systems. They also install many types of appliances, sprinkler systems, and water containment units. So if you’re comfortable working with blueprints and sketches, and have good manual dexterity then perhaps a job in the plumbing trade may interest you.
Plumbing Profile Video on JobsTVNews
For more information about getting started in these careers please visit the BC Construction Industry Training Organization.
For a list of Training Providers please click here.
We want to hear from you! If you work in construction or if you are interested in the trades, please share your experiences or thoughts below! What is your favourite trade in this industry? Are the job prospects good or bad according to your personal experiences? Please share your opinion!
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