How To Get Started in the Construction Industry
Every first Wednesday in May, we celebrate National Skilled Trades Day. City Machines Technology, Inc. created this holiday in 2019 to increase awareness of the benefits of skilled trade jobs. In addition, we take this day to celebrate workers in skilled trades. Skilled Trade jobs can be found in the industrial, service, and construction industries. Industrial skilled trade jobs include welders, machinists, mechanics, and programmers. Service skilled trade jobs include nurses, aides, orderlies, therapists, and service technicians. In this article, we want to focus on the construction industry. To celebrate National Skilled Trades Day, we wanted to give our readers a guide in starting your construction career. Check out our guide on how to start your career in the construction industry!
Advantages of a Construction Career
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the construction industry are growing at a rapid pace. Glazier jobs are expected to grow by 4% in the next 10 years. Glaziers are paid $46,080 per year on average. Other jobs in the construction industry, such as Construction and Building Inspectors, Construction Equipment Operators, and Construction Laborers and Helpers are all growing faster than average and pay between $34,814 and $59,700 per year. With the fast growth occurring in the construction industry, you’ll likely find advancement in your career.
Many jobs within the construction industry require only a high school diploma with classes in vocational subjects. You do not need to take out loans to go to college if you want a well-paying career. If you want to have a higher education, you can attend a trade school for up to two years prior to starting your construction career.
You have the opportunity to start your career earlier than your average young adult. However, anyone of any age can start their career in the construction industry with little to no experience necessary. As long as you have the suggested skills for the job, you have the opportunity to start your construction career today.
Before determining if you are a good fit for a construction career, it’s important to see the suggested skills needed for the job(s). All the below skills can be improved upon with proper training.
Basic Math Skills
Construction workers are expected to do basic math frequently. For example, you may use basic math skills to measure the length of something. You could use basic math skills when taking stock of current resources. In addition, you may use basic math skills when doing general assisting and surveying. While you do not need to know advanced calculus, you should possess the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide.
While most construction jobs will teach you how to operate their machinery after hiring, it helps if you consider yourself a handyman or handywoman. Knowing how to perform basic maintenance gives you a competitive advantage over other candidates in the construction industry.
Physical Stamina and Strength
Many construction jobs require the ability to lift heavy objects. For example, at Kensington Glass Arts, our workers must hold heavy machinery for glazing. Employees are expected to hold some heavy objects when loading or installing glass. In addition, many construction jobs occur outdoors. You must be able to work in extreme heat or cold conditions. However, if the environment is unsafe, your supervisors will likely make accommodations.
If you have the skills necessary to join the construction industry, here is how to get involved in your first construction job.
How to Get Started on Your Construction Career
If you or your child is still in high school, many schools have programs to set up for success in the trade industry. Many high schools may offer classes in carpentry, welding, and metal fabrication. If you have the chance to get involved in these classes, this will give you a competitive advantage against other job candidates in the construction industry.
After high school, you can attend a trade school. This is almost always a necessity for some construction-related jobs such as electricians. At trade school, you’ll learn specific skills related to your desired occupation. Most trade school programs are less than two years. Upon completing the program, you can receive a diploma/certificate, prepare for proper licensing, or begin an apprenticeship. For other construction jobs such as laborers and helpers, high school education is only necessary. To find a trade school near you, visit Trade-Schools.Net, which has suggestions for construction-focused programs.
To learn more about the benefits and education needed to work in construction, check out this video by Build Your Future on YouTube.
Apprenticeships are occupational training programs that combine on the job experience with technical or classroom study. During your apprenticeship, you will be compensated for your on-the-job experience. Sometimes you can come across these opportunities by networking. Simply asking if a company offers apprenticeships can be a step in the right direction. You can also find apprenticeships at various websites online, like Apprenticeship.gov/. There, you can click their “Find an Apprenticeship”, input your zip code and field of interest and they will connect you with apprenticeships in your area. It’s worth noting that not all construction companies have apprenticeship programs at this time. However, all construction companies provide various levels of training.
Working in the Glass Industry
Jobs within the Field
Kensington Glass Arts is always hiring. Typically, our employees in the field start as Helpers. Helpers are responsible for assisting our mechanics with the installation processes. Glass Helpers can be promoted to Mechanics after training and development. Typically, Mechanics are responsible for the proper installation of contracted projects. These projects include metal and glass and fitting into openings on job sites prepared by others. In addition, our Lead Mechanics are responsible for the training and development of our Helpers. Both Helpers and Mechanics are expected to communicate with clients and Project Managers about the scope of projects and anticipate any challenges during projects.
Project Managers and their assistants oversee various teams of Helpers and Mechanics. Project Managers are also the main point of contact with clients to facilitate new sales. Our Project Managers must be proficient in resource management and communication with employees.
In addition to our Project Managers, Mechanics, and Helpers, we also have Superintendents working in the field. The Superintendents report to our Project Managers. Superintendents are in charge of Quality Control with our field staff and developing the teams of Mechanics and Helpers into an interactive team. In addition, our Superintendents may assist with tracking and coordinating projects, maintaining interactions with the field staff, general sales and customer service. Our Superintendents may assist with occasional labor.
Jobs within the Kensington Glass Arts Facilities
Within our fabrication and tempering facilities, we also offer various construction jobs. Similar to individuals in the field, our employees typically start as Helpers. Our Helpers in our fabrication and tempering facilities assist with cutting, polishing, fabrication, seam & wash, tempering glass, and loading glass into trucks. Helpers must keep a clean workstation, dispose of damaged glass, and regularly clean and maintain machines they work on. These Helpers may be promoted to Leads or Technicians in Tempering, Edging, Cutting, and more areas of focus. All individuals in the fabrication facilities are expected to maintain quality control procedures in order to keep the workplace safe and efficient.
Our Quality Control employees ensure that fabrication is in compliance with attained certifications from the North American Contractor Certification (NACC) and the Safety Glazing Certification Council (SGCC). This includes checking our glass for defects and ensuring dimensions and labels are correct. Our Quality Control employees may be asked to assist in general activities in our fabrication facilities, make improvement suggestions, and record recipe changes to our glass.
Kensington Glass Arts also has jobs outside your typical construction jobs. We have various positions at our Ijamsville, Frederick, and Baltimore offices. We have positions in sales, truck driving, and administrative support. All Kensington Glass Arts employees are expected to have a “We Can Do Anything” state of mind. We are always striving to deliver the most efficient and safest result for our clients. Sometimes, our clients ask us to do something that seems impossible. Kensington Glass Arts is never afraid to take on difficult glass projects. We’ve had numerous successes with difficult projects, which you can find in our Success Stories.
How You Can Celebrate National Skilled Trades Day
You are still welcome to celebrate National Skills Trades Day even if you’re currently not in a skilled trade. The creators of this holiday, City Machines Technology, Inc. have several resources on their website, including books to share with younger children. Use this day as an opportunity to teach your community about the benefits of going into a trade. Share your experience or this article on your social media channels! In addition, make sure if you see a construction worker or other skilled trade employee out, make sure to thank them for their hard work.