Career Advice

This is one of the first in a series of student teacher collaborations where we aim to provide specific steps that can be followed by all students to start planning a career in all types of professions. For this post we want to focus on the carpentry profession and John who takes care of our wood workshop is going to provide some insights from his own experiences.

For all those students that come to my wood work class you already know how much fun working with wood can be and many of you come to some extracurricular classes as well and are well underway to having found a new hobby.

carpenterI personally started working with wood when I was just 5 years old, as both my father and grandfather were cabinet makers. For me the joy in working with wood is obvious, and I try to bring that to students in my classes.

More and more students are asking me these days about starting a career as a carpenter or cabinet maker, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to add to our swchool’s website some reference material.


Carpenters are in quite a lot of demand mainly from the construction industry, but also from home improvement projects that are too big or complex for many home owners. Some of the most common work for carpenters is:

  • the design and construction of timber framing for houses,
  • design and build roof structures
  • laying of timber flooring for both residential and commercial purposes

These are by far the most common jobs that a carpenter will encounter and many professionals will specialize in just one of these areas in order to gain efficiencies and very high reputations.

If you want to become a carpenter then you should follow these very simple steps in order to succeed in your future career:

  • Take part in as many wood workshops as your curriculum allows
  • Once you finish high school apply to a technical college for a carpentry course.
  • Do not apply for the cheapest and shortest course, but rather choose one that is industry accredited
  • While in the course, start applying to local carpentry businesses for small part time work
  • Work hard at your first job and put in as much effort as it takes to stand out

Cabinet Making

This is where I spent a lot of childhood and part of my professional and hobby life. You will need to learn to use the same tools as a carpenter, but there are also a lot of high precision tools that you will have to learn.

In many cases cabinet making is a course you take after you have completed basic carpentry training as above. I would highly recommend cabinet making to those of you that have a bit of an artistic flair and like the design that goes into this job.

Here is what I recommend you do to get start in this career:

  • Take part in as many wood workshops as your curriculum allows
  • Once you finish high school apply to a technical college for a carpentry course.
  • Upon completion add on a cabinet making course
  • Start making furniture in your spare time for family and friends to start getting your name out there
  • While in the course, start applying to local cabinet making businesses for small part time work
  • Work hard at your first job and put in as much effort as it takes to stand out

If you would like some further advice just drop by my office or the wood workshop and I will be more than happy to personalize a plan for you and give you some advice.

This is the second post in our series of career advice posts and the information here comes from Tony in our metal work shop which we proudly opened just 18 months ago. Since then Tony has created a great amount of tutorials, course work and practical projects that have become very popular with our students. So let’s hand it over to Tony to discuss some of the details.

welderWe opened the metal workshop just about 18 months ago after we were getting increasing requests from students who enjoyed learning about different trades. I was pleasantly surprised how many of you were interested and immediately signed up for some courses.

Many students have been asking about how to start a career as a welder and what kind of options there are after high school. So I thought I might add this information to the website for all those interested.



1) Complete High School

This is very important as many technical colleges and apprenticeship programs will require some sort of GED. As well as doing well in your high school diploma you should sign up to as many of my classes as you can. This will provide a solid basis and when you apply for your first job you will have some very relevant experience that you can put on your resume.

2) Apply For Welding Course

Most technical colleges offer designated welding courses where at the end you will be a certified welder. Course length can vary from intensive 3 month courses to more experience based 6 to 12 month course. A lot of focus in the courses will be on health and safety as it is a high risk profession.

While welding classes and training generally covers a specific set curriculum, I would suggest researching some course at to make sure you choose the course with the latest technology and best chances for employment.

3) Apply For A Union Apprenticeship

This is very popular option that will see you through a welding training program while at the same time gaining experience in the real world through union jobs. Your training will be paid for by a combination of union and employer contributions. You will also receive a small salary for the work you perform.

The advantage is that you will have a direct road into a union work environment which has benefits of union contracts and better pay and benefits.

4) Join The Military

This is also a great option especially if you want to get into the highly specialized area of underwater welding. Commercial diving courses for welders can cost upwards of $20,000. Even though you will very quickly recoup that investment, you may not be in a position to have access to that sort of money.

If this is really something you would like to do then consider signing up to the Navy with the express intent of becoming a Navy diver welder. All your education will be provided by the Navy and once you finish your stint in the military you will be a very highly sort after certified professional.

If you want to find out more about welding, then please call into my office. I can provide you with industry contacts so that you can see with your own eyes what it is all about.