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Yukon WorkFutures

Carpenters

NOC 7271 / RANK 9

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ARCHBOULD.COM

What They Do

Carpenters build and repair structures made of wood, wood-substitutes and other materials. They work mainly with wood, even though materials such as plastics and metal are used increasingly more often in construction. This is a large group of workers in Yukon.

Carpenters work for construction companies, carpentry contractors and maintenance departments of governments, mines and other facilities.

A Day in the Life

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Listen to A Day in the Life

Main Duties

Carpenters may do some or all of the following tasks:

  • Read and interpret plans and architectural drawings
  • Operate woodworking machines and hand tools
  • Fit parts and subassemblies together to form complete units
  • Supervise apprentices
  • Prepare cost estimates for clients
  • Build foundations
  • Install floor beams
  • Lay subflooring
  • Erect walls and roof systems
  • Fit and install trim items
  • Maintain wooden structures

Working Conditions

Carpenters work at residential and commercial sites. In the summer, this can be for six or even seven days of the week, and for long hours each day. In Yukon, holes for buildings are dug and concrete is poured before October and after March. Because Yukon winters can be very severe, workers must wear heavy boots, mitts, and clothing. Snow makes working difficult at the job site, and workers need a warm-up break after about 45 minutes of outdoor work.

Some are self-employed but the majority work for construction firms or governments. As much of the work available is in the building industry, carpenters can expect periodic layoffs with the rise and fall of the Yukon economy. There may also be seasonal layoffs.

Some construction projects, such as in mining, will take carpenters to remote locations where they live in a camp setting. This requires planning skills to ensure there are enough materials for the job, as it is often an expensive helicopter ride to bring in missing pieces. Workers in this setting need to cope with camp life, as well as mosquitoes and even bears, while concentrating on the job.

Many carpenters seek work through a trade union. Work requests come through the union hiring hall, and are allocated to members on a rotating basis. A typical workweek is 35 to 40 hours, but overtime is common in order to complete projects on time. This is especially true during the extended daylight hours of summer.

Many carpenters are non-union or work at carpentry as well as a variety of other trades. These people usually work in home construction and renovation and a variety of smaller jobs. They find most of their work through direct contact with clients and referrals from previous jobs.

How Do I Get There

Yukon Advanced Education Branch supervises a carpenter apprenticeship program. A minimum education level of Grade 12 is required in mathematics, science and English, and the apprenticeship lasts four years.

Upon completing their apprenticeship, carpenters receive a certificate of apprenticeship. They must pass an interprovincial standards examination to receive a certificate of qualification with an interprovincial Red Seal endorsement. Current details regarding apprenticeships can be obtained by contacting the Advanced Education Branch.

Advanced Education also oversees the Yukon Tradesperson Qualification Program, available for people who have gained the required trade experience, but have not been able to access certification through a formal apprenticeship program. It is also a way for people who hold trades certification from other jurisdictions in Canada or other countries to gain Yukon certification.