Qualifications for Trades

Listening to the morning show on our local radio station. Today’s topic: Schooling, education and training for a trade. And the lack of adequate formal training in high school and other continuing education facilities. Then comes a question period, listeners phoning in. What really gets me is the discussion around the topic of apprenticeships and whether or not a 70-year old man (who allegedly had worked in some trade such as carpentry) should still go on the road and do such work. Whereby the radio moderator said: YES. While I say: NO, NO, NO. Unless that guy has his own professional tools, and really knows what he is doing.

My experience in construction has been extensive for the past 35 years. I have myself done most of my own work (for myself, not for gain), be it roofing, siding, flooring, dry walling, framing, carpentry and finishing carpentry, painting, plumbing and electrical (easy stuff). Also working in the bush cutting trees, and grading roads (using my own tractors and my own professional tools).  One of the reasons for being forced to learn all of this and do it myself was, because I lived far out in the country and could not get anybody to come do some contracts for me.

Now in the city I have had multiple occasions for hiring somebody do some work for me. When it comes to the old (retired, or war veteran) types, mostly they show up without any tools, want to use my own professional tools, and do a lousy job. And in addition, they expect cash money (in the absence of any regular business or registered tax number), which means for me, if the job is not done right, I have no recourse.

[As we always say: “he cut 3 times and it is still too short; “or, ever heard of a level and measuring tape ?”]. Apprenticeships for young guys is a good thing, if they seriously work with a licensed and responsible plumber or electrician. They should be given all the chances they can get. And if I pay a guy to do a job for me, I expect this job to be such, that I do not have to fix it after he/she left.

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