What Does a Construction Apprentice Do?

Dan Cavallari

A construction apprentice is a person in the training phase that will allow him or her to work in the construction industry. The apprenticeship can prepare the candidate for a variety of construction positions, from manual laborer to framer or even foreman. The duration of the construction apprentice training can therefore vary, as some jobs require much more training than others. A typical apprenticeship can last anywhere from one to five years, depending on the complexity of the job. The apprentice will work under the direct guidance and supervision of a more experienced construction worker during the job training phase.

A construction apprentice gains experience on the job under the guidance of an experienced worker.
A construction apprentice gains experience on the job under the guidance of an experienced worker.

As the construction apprentice gains more experience during the job training program, he or she will end up doing more work without the direct guidance of a more experienced worker. At the beginning of the apprenticeship, however, the construction apprentice is likely to perform only the most basic job functions without guidance; all other jobs must be completed with supervision to ensure the safety of the apprentice as well as the efficiency of the project being completed. Manual labor jobs may be assigned to the apprentice at the beginning of his training simply to give him or her an opportunity to get used to working in a construction setting.

A construction apprentice will learn which pieces of safety equipment are necessary for each task.
A construction apprentice will learn which pieces of safety equipment are necessary for each task.

Classroom components to the construction apprentice program may exist as well; classwork may focus on giving the apprentice the skills and knowledge necessary to complete any required certifications for the job. The apprentice may also take certification exams in the classroom so he or she can be qualified to work on job sites. This is usually only required for more advanced positions, though some companies may require all employees to be trained in first aid and CPR, which are both classroom subjects.

Some construction apprentice programs include a classroom portion.
Some construction apprentice programs include a classroom portion.

If the construction apprentice intends to learn a specific trade, he or she will work directly with a more experienced worker within that trade. A welder's apprentice, for example, will work with welders who can show apprentices how to work with various metals and welding machines. Safety is usually a priority during training, as many welders work with electrical currents, dangerous flames, and hazardous work environments. A welder is likely to work on tall buildings, which means training with harnesses and other safety equipment will be necessary for the construction apprentice. When an apprentice has finished his or her job training, that person will be eligible for full-time work either with the company that offered the apprenticeship, or with other companies in the industry.

Apprenticeships can last anywhere between one to five years.
Apprenticeships can last anywhere between one to five years.

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