Construction Technician

Job description

Construction Technicians provide structural engineering support to operational units at home and abroad.

The Construction Technician job is one of seven Construction Engineering positions that provide all construction, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering services to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operations. The primary responsibilities of the Construction Technician are to:

  • Construct, repair and maintain buildings for the protection of personnel and equipment
  • Produce related structural designs and specifications
  • Produce related structural drawings
  • Construct field defences
  • Harden field structures
  • Erect prefabricated structures

Transcript

CONSTRUCTION TECHNICIAN

IN THE CANADIAN FORCES

I’m Corporal Paul Merner from Mount Pearl, Newfoundland – I’m a Construction Technician posted at CFB Bagotville.

And I’m Corporal David Campbell from London, Ontario -- I’m a Construction Technician at 8 Wing, Trenton.

Construction Technicians work with all three elements of the Forces – building and maintaining barracks, hangars, storage facilities, offices, and temporary shelters.

MERNER: From starting off a building from zero, to finishing off the roof, to finishing off the interior inside – If there’s block, if there’s tile work…

CAMPBELL: Drafting, surveying, framing, drywall, painting…

MERNER: It’s just amazing. I can’t even put a word on it.

On base, we’re involved in drafting the plans and building and maintaining all the permanent physical structures, whether it’s a new barracks or a new vehicle garage or a rec hall – you’re part of a team of really skilled and versatile people.

CAMPBELL: On deployment, you’re often going into an area where the infrastructure just isn’t up to our standards, or isn’t there at all. The Construction Techs go in first and we provide our troops and our commanders with a place to live and work.

If there’s a shower unit to be built for the infantry in Afghanistan then we’re the guys, we’re the ones that do the work. It’s always very rewarding to see the smiles on their faces.

MERNER: In civilian world you have people that do just roofing, you have people that do just framing, you have people that just do block work. We do it all. So it’s a huge advantage over the civilian workforce. The best thing is that each day is never the same. In the morning you can be working on a door outside, and in the afternoon you could be putting in a drop ceiling. There’s always something new to get over, so there’s always scratching your head and moving on and getting the job done.

I was down in Jamaica, which was absolutely amazing. We basically built things for the Jamaican army over there. It was quite the experience.

MERNER: After basic military training, Construction Technicians spend eight months at the School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

They have the top people in Canada there to instruct us how to do various things from framework up to roofing to concrete to block laying. It’s very, very impressive. I think our training there is well above and beyond the standard of the civilian workforce.

When you graduate from Gagetown, you’ll be assigned to an Army or Navy Construction Troop, or a Construction Engineering Flight for the next two years of your on-the-job experience and training.

CAMPBELL: Going to a unit after Gagetown provides you with the opportunity to learn even further.

MERNER: I got sent to a construction engineer unit in Kingston and basically, it was taking care of the base, it was base maintenance. When I first got there people had open arms, they accepted me right away. They started out from very, very basic and as the weeks progressed, they’d start giving us bigger jobs and we’d always work with someone that’s a qualified journeyman.

At the end of your 2-year apprenticeship, you'll head back to Gagetown to complete your journeyman training. That course lasts 21/2 months and when you're done, you'll return to your unit as a fully qualified technician, able to work without supervision and ready to be deployed.

When you get on a job site, you evaluate, look around and see what your obstacles are going to be. You can’t always go run to your supervisor and say, “Hey what will I do about this”, You have to actually make a decision yourself and you just get the job done. The importance is having a finished product in a timely manner.

CAMPBELL: Before I joined, I had considered being a civilian carpenter but the experiences in the Canadian Forces really lured me in. It allowed me the experience to deploy overseas, to learn a trade. It’s taken my life from boring to exciting.

MERNER: I’m 15 years in my career right now, I’m happy, I love going to work in the morning and I look forward to every single day of my life.

TITLE:

CONSTRUCTION TECHNICIAN

IN THE CANADIAN FORCES

Overview

Working environment

Construction Technicians often work with the challenges that come with varying environments. They maintain their skills while employed at home units or on humanitarian and United Nations operational assignments.

Pay and career development

The starting salary for a fully trained Construction Technician is $49,400 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Construction Technicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.

Related civilian occupations

  • Carpenter
  • Roofer
  • Mason
  • Certified Engineering Technician (Civil/Construction)

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Training

Basic military qualification

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the CAF physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Basic military qualification – land course

After Basic Training, Army recruits go to a Military Training centre for the Basic Military Qualification – Land Course for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:

  • Army Physical Fitness
  • Dismounted Offensive and Defensive Operations
  • Reconnaissance Patrolling
  • Individual Field Craft

Basic occupational qualification training

Construction Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick. Training takes approximately 29 weeks and includes:

  • Environmental skills such as defensive tactics and firearms
  • Care and use of common and special purpose tools and test equipment
  • Application of occupational codes and regulations
  • Interpretation of drawings and schematics
  • Constructing/hardening structures
  • Concrete/masonry
  • Roofing systems
  • Wood and steel framing
  • Painting
  • Construction survey
  • Physics principles

Specialty training

Construction Technician may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training.

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Entry plans

Required education

The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec, including Grade 10 academic math or math 436 in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.

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Part-time option

This occupation is available part-time within the following environment: Air Force

Serve with the Reserve Force

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time with a military unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Part-time employment

Construction Technicians may serve with the Canadian Army or the Royal Canadian Air Force. They are employed to provide structural engineering support for CAF training and operations. Those employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis usually serve at a military base, wing or unit located within Canada.

Reserve Force training

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, occupational training for Construction Technicians takes approximately 29 weeks and is conducted at the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Working environment

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units on a term basis, depending on their occupations. They are paid 85 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.

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