The apprentice diary: entry #3

The apprentice diary: entry #3

The apprentice diary: entry #3

Time is flying by as I approach six months since I started my apprenticeship, and I have to say, I’m starting to feel more comfortable on-site.

I am now more confident getting on with the daily tasks with less supervision. I’m also understanding the building process more and the order in which things are done. I’m picking up more and more tips and tricks, like when marking and cutting wood taking into consideration the width of the blade. And I’m learning the true meaning of common terms like ‘plumb, level and/or square’.

As well as some things ‘clicking’, I’m constantly amazed at all the different techniques for installing, cutting, grinding, measuring that occur on-site. I’m constantly taking time to watch the more experienced guys work their trade, without appearing unproductive by standing and gazing for too long.

I’m also doing more ‘apprentice’ tasks such as crawling under houses into tight spaces to fix squeaky floor boards. I don’t look at this as an unwanted task, but more as a learning. While I’m under the house, I make sure to have a look around and see if I can figure out how it’s been built. Another fun task has been to demo a small two bedroom town house, which involved pulling all the ceiling plasterboard down. To my surprise, this released an absolute torrent of Insul-Fluff, which was commonly used in the early 90s. For those who don’t know what it is, check out the photo above.

Formal training

During my nights at home I’m slowly getting stuck into my bookwork for my apprenticeship. I’ve had my first review meeting, and was pleasantly surprised to have a number of sections signed-off. This has inspired me to read more, particularly on aspects I’m working on during the day. It helps things click to understand from a theory point of view and then see it happen on-site.

Some key learnings

Another thing that’s important to take notice of, now that the warmer weather is here, is taking care of my body. That means drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, but also looking after things like my feet, as spending all day on them, and being in work boots, they can sweat quite a bit. I wear nice thick comfy socks and I take my boots off to let my feet breathe whenever I can.

Lastly, with a number of months under my belt, I’m starting to purchase more and more tools that are used regularly, whether it be power tools, or simple hand tools. I’m happy to share them with the guys, but it’s worth labeling them with your name or applying some coloured tape to distinguish them, just in case you have the same brand/model as someone else.

The nights are starting to draw in now, so it will be interesting to see how things change as winter approaches. But till then, let’s enjoy the rest of summer.

By Stu Foster, Apprentice.