Construction Week: Building a Name for Yourself: Starting out in Construction (Part 1)


The opportunities for careers and advancement in the Construction industry have never been greater.

With a broad selection of roles available, students and grads will find that there is something for everyone in this industry. Whether you’d prefer to work inside or outdoors, urban or remote, high in the sky or with boots firmly planted on the ground, the opportunities available are vast and diverse. And as more and more baby boomers retire, there is an increasing demand for trained new grads to to enter the Construction industry and hit the ground running.

Bachelor programs in Construction Management across Canada yield a near 100% employment rate and many incorporate hands-on training experience such as co-ops and work-placements. Apprenticeships are another popular avenue for individuals looking to break into the construction and trade industries.

Ready to hatch a career in construction? In this two-part series, we’ll be covering how you can land your first job and rise through the ranks to become management material.

Post-Secondary Programs: Building a Foundation in Construction Education

There is no singular path to a career in construction. However, most interested individuals will typically enrol in either post-secondary training programs, apprenticeships, or a combination of the two.

A university, college, or technical school education is a popular option for students considering a career in construction. The types of construction programs will vary depending on the school, as will the various designations you may earn, so it is important that you do your research thoroughly.

Pursuing an education via post-secondary programs will ensure that you learn valuable skills, techniques and training relevant to the construction industry. However, you may also need to earn certifications separately from your diploma.

If you are considering moving into a management position one day, you may want to consider enrolling in a construction-related business management program. These college programs range from surveying programs to construction management. However, many construction managers also begin their careers with degrees in business, accounting and marketing. Check this link for available programs at Canadian universities!

Apprenticeships: Earn While You Learn

Job placements or co-ops are common in many different industries and disciplines. These opportunities allow students to network with professionals and mentors and gain valuable skills and work experience. Apprenticeships operate very similarly, and, for students interested in construction, they make a lot of sense.

Apprenticeships merge both the technical and practical, combining classroom-based learning with on-site field training. As the on-site training typically constitutes 80% of the curriculum, apprentices stand to gain relevant experience and earn a decent paycheck! Additionally, you’ll also get the opportunity to be mentored by industry professionals, and earn the necessary credentials and qualifications to work in your prospective industry.

Apprenticeships appeal to a spectrum of individuals, ranging from high school students to older professionals ready for a career change. And if you need financial aid, there are plenty of grants available to help supplement any related costs.

Are you interested in becoming an apprentice? Apprenticeships across Canada are regulated provincially, but you can learn more about local opportunities from the Careers in Trades webpage. Not completely sure if being an apprentice is for you? Consider looking into Pre-Apprentice Programs to explore various trades and develop valuable skills.

If you’re an apprentice or skilled worker interested in enhancing your Certificate of Qualifications, enrolling in certain inter-provincial programs could be very useful for you… Here are a few examples:

Red Seal Certification

This special certification, acquired through the Red Seal Interprovincial Standards Program, endorses apprentices who have been trained in a specific trade and qualifies them to work across Canada. Apprentices that have completed their training will receive the Red Seal endorsement on their Certificate of Qualification. In order to receive the Red Seal endorsement, you would need to pass the Inter-Provincial Standards Examination. Those with the endorsement are free to practice in any Canadian province or territory without writing further examinations.

Why pursue a Red Seal Certification in construction?

  • Indicates a national standard of excellence for construction trade in Canada
  • Provides a competitive advantage when seeking jobs in Canada
  • Workers with Red Seal certification have a higher earning potential
  • Provides opportunity for industry mobility with highly transferable skills
  • Comparable to a college certification in construction-related knowledge and skill

Think Green!

LEED CERTIFICATION: Accredited Professional and Green Associate

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a sustainable, environmentally conscious building initiative that promotes the values of “green building.” With LEED, students can gain certification in sustainable building practices, an in-demand skill in the construction industry.

Individuals can become LEED Accredited Professionals (AP), a designation that indicates specialization in the following programs:

  • LEED AP Building Design + Construction (LEED AP BD+C)
  • LEED AP Operations + Maintenance (LEED AP O+M)
  • LEED AP Interior Design + Construction (LEED AP ID+C)
  • LEED AP Homes
  • LEED AP Neighbourhood Development (LEED AP ND)

For more information on becoming a LEED AP click here!

Want to take your career in construction further? Check out part two in our series: Building a Name for Yourself: Management Positions in Construction.

It’s Construction Week! To get cracking on your career visit our Career Guides!