Francis Wood

There are no typical days really as a carpenter. The work ranges from 1st fix which involves roofing and framework to 2nd fix involving hanging doors and more fine finishing work, and everything inbetween. We are on site from nearly day one of a development to the very end of completion. We start at 7.30am and finish at 4pm which is good in the summer but the early mornings are a struggle in the winter when it’s still dark.

What do you think are the three most important skills to succeed in your career area?
Good attention to detail and precise work. When second fixing, your work needs to be neat and tidy because this is the work that the customer sees when they move into the house. Good communication and team work skills. It is important to be able to work with others because a lot of jobs require two or more people, especially when moving heavy timber and steel in roof construction and if you are unable to listen and follow instructions it can lead to problems and be dangerous. Good problem solving. It is important to be able to work through problems and not get swamped by them. It is not uncommon for things to not quite fit, therefore you need to be able to find a solution.

Was this something you planned to do or did you change direction at any point in the past? If so, what was that and was it easy to do?
For a long time I have been interested in construction and carpentry and found that by gaining a trade it would be a good way of learning invaluable skills and see the process of building first hand. It also enables me to network with other tradesmen, building a network of contacts.

What do you love most about working in your career area?
I love the variety of work that my trade provides me. It is also great to be able to work Island wide, working on a number of different projects. I am definitely more of an outdoor, practical person and therefore this job suits my personality and interests.

Are there any negative aspects of working in your career area that people considering it should be aware of?
A lot of trade companies use zero hour contracts which do not guarantee work, however if you find a good company with a steady work flow this won’t be a problem. Also the construction industry is really busy at the moment, so there is more than enough work and would be a good time to join the industry.

What training / quali cations did you undertake for your current role or are you currently undertaking?
For my apprenticeship I did a three year day release course at Highlands College, studying site carpentry which gave me a Level 3 diploma qualification. This September I will hopefully be following this up with a two year HNC in Construction.

Is there any other information that would be of interest to someone thinking of this career?
I found that being supported by Trackers helped because they provided a mentor that was there to answer any questions and guide me. I found this especially helpful in my first year when I was finding my feet and getting used to the industry. They have also been helpful in supporting me with my future course, as I wasn’t sure if I had the experience level yet to be pushing for more qualifications. The more experience you can get the better!

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