Carpenter apprentices learn on the job. In fact, this is where they spend their time and learn important skills needed to gain confidence and work independently. But don’t forget that there’s also a classroom part as well which is as essential as the on-the-job.
The carpentry apprenticeship program requires hours of classroom training in addition to on-the-job training. Professions such as carpentry involves a lot of safety issues and this will be highly emphasized during the classroom training part of the program. This is for two reasons: to ensure that all carpenter apprentices are aware of their safety responsibilities in the workplace, and also to prevent injuries because you would not know what condition you are going to be assigned to work.
The amount of time you may have to spend in the classroom training is about 144 hours each year until you complete the program. You may find that 144 hours is a bit difficult to complete especially when you have full-time work as an apprentice.
The apprenticeship training provider may give their apprentices options on how they want to attend the this training. When I was starting, I completed the required hours by allocating a day (about 8-10 hours) during my off, and I was able to finish this in just about 18 sessions each year. Doing so, gave me the focus on the OJT part and at the same time learn the theories.
However, there may be several other choices you can opt into to finish this part of the program. Here are the several ways:
Several Ways to Attend the Classroom Training
Depending on the apprenticeship training provider, this can be delivered in one or several ways such as the following:
- In fulltime – which means the apprentice has to attend training for a set number of weeks. This is ideal if there’s no project at hand, the required hours can be completed in the soonest possible time when done full-time.
- Once in week – if you ask me, this is the appropriate way to attend the classroom training. The training can be done on Saturday or Sunday or during off in approximately 8 hours per session. If you compute, to complete that 144 hours, it needs 18 sessions to finish.
- In the night school – this is what I don’t recommend, simply because, you are tired working all day, you no longer have the energy to comprehend the lectures. Although, it is an option to take if given the opportunity.
- Through online – with the inception of online training comes with convenience. With this method, you no longer have to attend physically the class. While it is convenient, I still recommend the attending this in person.
You and your colleagues can request from the apprenticeship training provider the method you want to attend the classroom training. With the ways above, I am sure you can pick one that is suitable for all you taking the program.
What Will You Learn Inside the Classroom
- Basic occupational safety and health – in order to be safe while on the job
- Related and current OSHA regulations – so that you get updated with the present regulations affecting your job and workplace
- Construction site safety – construction is a very different place to work in, there are many things happening at the same time, it is a recipe for disaster, with that being said, someone has to have the knowledge in order to be safe at the site.
- Manual Handling – the nature of the job is physically demanding, you will frequently work in heavy materials that strain your back and whole body, for that you need to have manual handling techniques that you can learn from the classroom
- Carpentry tool instruction - you need to be able to work with a variety of tools in order to get familiarized with their proper use. Instruction on how to use them is learned in the classroom.
- Blueprint reading - Blueprint reading is the ability to look at a building or design and reconstruct it in your own image, usually using blueprints or other 3D models.
- Sketching for carpentry use - Sketching is an important part of the basic layout process. It helps to determine what materials will best suit the needs when working on a project, which helps cut costs and time.
- Green building - Green building is a comprehensive approach to building practice, design and environmental sustainability. It is popular nowadays.
Is There a Written Examination You Have to Take
As far I know, there is no written exam you have to take and pass. The requirement only says to complete 144 hours of classroom training for every 2,000 hours of OJT. However, the proctor, in his discretion, may administer an exam to gauge the knowledge the apprentices have gained from the lessons.
If there’s such an examination, is there a chance to fail the training? No. Just like I said, taking and passing the exam is not necessary. It is just a tool to measure the understanding of the topics.
The written exam is just there to encourage apprentices to study the lessons and master the topics.
This part of the apprenticeship program is important just as the OJT part of the carpenter apprenticeship program. This is where you learn the theoretical knowledge in different areas of the job – especially safety.
As an apprentice, you have several options to take the classroom training: full-time, once a week, at night or online. While the training provider may have their own delivery, you still have to request, together with your colleagues, how you want to receive it.
I hope we cleared some of your confusion about this topic. We always wish you good luck and be safe!