If you’re interested in a career in construction, a steel worker apprenticeship program might be the perfect fit for you. Not only do you get to work on high-rise buildings and be a part of constructing something truly impressive, but there’s also a sense of pride that comes with it.
Timothy Shaw, the training coordinator for the Iron Workers apprenticeship program, can attest to this. Shaw’s father was a construction worker, but he never thought he would become an iron worker himself. However, an opportunity opened up and he was able to make significantly more money than he was before.
One of Shaw’s favorite projects as an ironworker was a sculpture park, where he spent many hours drilling and refurbishing plates that hold posts down. Today, he can go back and see the handrail he helped install, which gives him a sense of pride.
To join the Iron Workers apprenticeship program, there are a few qualifications you need to meet. You must be 18 years or older, able to read, write, and speak English, and have dependable transportation. To apply, you’ll need to go to the Tolo office in person and submit your application with a resume, driver’s license, vehicle registration, and social security card. To make your application stand out, it’s helpful to bring any construction experience or certifications you have, such as welding certifications or a high school diploma.
While you wait for your application to be reviewed, Shaw suggests working out and getting in shape to prepare for the physical demands of the job. He also stresses the importance of being open-minded and willing to learn.
If you’re selected for the apprenticeship, you’ll be invited to a one-week safety orientation where you’ll learn more about being an iron worker and receive first aid and OSHA training. The following week, you’ll be dispatched out to work, depending on the availability of the trade.
If you’re not able to get into the apprenticeship right away, Shaw suggests applying to all apprenticeships and being open-minded to different trades. Overall, he encourages anyone interested in the construction industry to take a chance and join the trades, whether it be the Iron Workers or another trade.