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  • Writer's pictureGabrielle Glasson

How to 'nail' work experience

So you've lined up work experience with a builder. Maybe it's your first foray into the workplace and you're not sure what to expect or how to be impressive.

Work experience has the potential to turn into a long and fulfilling career in carpentry, so it's worth knowing how you can knock our socks off!

What to expect at work experience with a Builder

A week of work experience will give you a hint of what life is like on a construction site. What's happening will depend largely on the stage of projects we're working on at the time. We could be doing formwork and pouring a slab for a new home, building frames, or we could be in the finishing touches of a build, laying floor boards, or installing doors and building decks.

Watch and learn

In your first week on a job site, it's unlikely that you'll be working with power tools and building houses - it's more about watching and learning, and being helpful where you can. You'll be givena list of mini jobs or tasks to do and if you see something you'd love to learn or might be able to do, feel free to ask!

It might not be interesting all of the time

Sometimes the site supervisors will be in a meeting, so if you find yourself with not much to do, before you jump on your phone have a look around. You may be able to help one of hte carpenters hold material or pass them a tool.

How to turn work experience into a carpentry apprenticeship

Many of our best carpenters first started with us doing work experience and were so impressive we offered them an apprenticeship. If you're hoping for an apprenticeship out of your work placement, here's how to set yourself apart and impress us:

Be friendly and enthusiastic!

Don't just sit quietly in the corner watching. Show an interest in helping out and learning. You want to strike the right balance between being friendly and curious and ensuring we can keep being productive. There can be lots of banter on job sites to keep the days fun, but make sure you're always respectful. This is your opportunity to ask questions, about the task we're working on, the project, and also what a career in carpentry would be like: what the best and worst of the job entails. That will give you a great idea of whether it's right for you.

Show an interest in the building industry.

You might want to check out Instagram to have an idea of some of the great work going on in Sydney. There are many fantastic builders working on inspiring projects to follow.

Show an interest in carpentry.

Get familiar with some of the tools and terms of the trade before you arrive and you'll get much more from the experience. Know the difference between a mitre, bevel or butt joint? Level or plumb? What a 4x2 stick of timber is? If you want to make a career in carpentry, getting a head start on terminology will put you in good stead. And feel free to ask us when you're watching us work!

Demonstrate a good work ethic.

Arrive on time, dressed in a tidy and presentable way. Be willing to help out with the physical work, ask what you can do to help and if you see a mess - grab a broom! There is always something to clean up!

We're on the hunt for an enthusiastic, hard-working apprentice right now.

If you're interested in doing some work experience or starting an apprenticeship with Shire Build, we'd love to hear from you!

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