People come into the construction industry with all kinds of backgrounds, from many different places and at various stages in their working lives.
There are two main entryways into unionized construction:
From there, employees embark on their apprenticeships, which normally last four years and include course work at an accredited post-secondary institution as well as a required number of paid employment hours. At the end of this period, they become journeymen.
In addition to providing continuing direct support for all apprentices throughout their educational period, BFI is very supportive of journeymen who wish to move into leadership positions. Experienced, skilled and committed journeymen can become foremen, and those demonstrating strong leadership skills can become general foremen. The categories of foreman and general foreman are within the collective agreement and provide compensation 15-25 percent above base wages.
Those with exceptional skills and an excellent track record of accomplishment, safety and inter-personal skills have a further opportunity at BFI: moving into a supervisory role outside the collective agreement, as a construction superintendent and, from there, project managers and/or construction manager. These are some of the most interesting and senior positions available in the construction industry. Compensation is commensurate with the responsibility and experience needed to manage these varying-sized projects.
At the end of a tradesperson’s working career, the certified tradesperson is eligible for a pension provided through the collective agreement.