Explore Careers by Essential Skills
The essential skills profiles can:
- Help determine, based on skill sets, which career may best suit a particular individual.
- Assist job seekers to write a résumé or prepare for a job interview.
- Help employers to create a job posting.
Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as 'building blocks' because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Construction Trades Helpers and Labourers (NOC 7611)
Construction trades helpers and labourers assist skilled tradespeople and perform labouring activities.
- Read instructions and warnings written on signs, labels and packaging, e.g. read warning labels on tools to learn about shock hazards. (1)
- Read short text entries on forms and technical drawings, e.g. read comments on forms to learn about delivery schedules. (1)
- Read notices and bulletins, e.g. read notices from workers' compensation boards to learn about workplace hazards and incidents. (2)
- Read a variety of instructions and procedures, e.g. read step-by-step instructions to learn how to mix mortars and clean parts. (2)
- Read safety-related information, e.g. read safety rules and regulations governing fall protection, confined spaces and other hazards. (3)
- May read trade journals, brochures and website articles to learn about new products and construction technologies. (3)
- May read manuals, e.g. read manuals to learn how to inspect and operate equipment, such as forklifts. (3)
- Scan labels on product packaging and equipment to locate specifications, times, safety information and identification numbers. (1)
- View digital readouts, e.g. scan readings on survey equipment to determine grades and slopes. (1)
- Refer to lists, e.g. scan parts lists to identify identification numbers and quantities. (1)
- Complete a variety of forms, e.g. complete check boxes and enter data, such as dates, identification numbers and times, in equipment inspection forms and invoices. (2)
- Locate data, such as dates, times and dimensions, in tables, e.g. scan conversion charts to determine the required size of drill bits. (2)
- May interpret technical drawings including floor plans, schematics and assembly drawings, e.g. study construction drawings to determine the location and size of door and window openings. (3)
- Write short comments in log books, e.g. write short comments in log books to record the outcome of safety inspections. (1)
- Write short notes to co-workers, e.g. write short notes to co-workers to inform them about defective equipment. (1)
- May write text entries in forms, e.g. enter information into change order forms to record unexpected work. (2)
- May write short reports to describe events leading up to workplace accidents, e.g. write about injuries and events when completing reports for workers' compensation boards. (2)
- May purchase supplies using petty cash and receive change. (1)
- Take a variety of measurements using basic tools, e.g. measure the height of doorways and the angle of brackets. (1)
- Measure the dimensions and angles of building materials using basic tools, such as tape measures and protractors. (1)
- Compare measurements to specifications, e.g. compare the size of window openings to the dimensions found on floor plans. (1)
- May estimate distances by pacing out metres. (1)
- Calculate material requirements, e.g. calculate the amount of water needed to mix specified amounts of mortar. (2)
- May calculate averages, e.g. use several reading to calculate average cylinder pressures. (2)
- May estimate quantities, e.g. estimate the number of pipes needed to complete a project. (2)
- May estimate weights, e.g. estimate the weights of loads to be lifted by hoists. (2)
- May take precise measurements using specialized measuring instruments, e.g. use calipers to measure the diameters of milled rods. (3)
- Speak to suppliers to learn about products, prices and delivery schedules. (1)
- Exchange information with co-workers and other tradespeople, e.g. talk to supervisors to learn about job assignments and to coordinate activities and schedules. (2)
- Participate in group discussions, e.g. discuss safety, goals, procedures, job time-frames and projects during staff meetings. (2)
- Listen to instructions, e.g. listen to step-by-step instructions to learn how to operate equipment, such as hoists and power-actuated tools. (3)
- Encounter delays due to material shortages. They inform supervisors of the shortages and contact suppliers to arrange deliveries. They perform other work until the needed supplies arrive. (1)
- Decide the order of tasks, e.g. decide the order in which to construct floors, walls and rafters. (1)
- Choose the tools to accomplish tasks, e.g. consider the type of tasks to be performed and the tools available to them. (1)
- Find out the schedule of activities by reviewing work orders and by speaking with co-workers, tradespeople and supervisors. (1)
- Encounter delays due to equipment breakdowns. They inform supervisors about equipment breakdowns and perform other work until repairs are completed. They may attempt to troubleshoot and repair the equipment themselves. (2)
- Decide how to perform work safely. They consider requirements for personal protective equipment and hazards to themselves and others. (2)
- Are asked to perform unsafe work. They speak with supervisors to clarify their requests and refuse to perform work they consider unsafe. They follow legislated right to refuse unsafe work policies until satisfactory outcomes are achieved. (2)
- May decide whether parts are reusable or should be rebuilt, e.g. consider the condition of parts and their replacement cost. (2)
- Decide to report unsafe work conditions. They act on requirements to report unsafe work conditions by discussing their concerns and decisions with co-workers and supervisors. (2)
- Evaluate the safety of work sites. They observe electrical, slipping and fall hazards and the location of safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers. They take note of other potential hazards, such as improperly stored tools, broken equipment and confined spaces. (2)
- Evaluate the performance of equipment. They consider the speed and accuracy of equipment outputs. (2)
- Evaluate the quality of construction. They take measurements, check alignments and physically test the elements they constructed. (2)
- Take direction for most of their activities from forepersons or more senior persons onsite, although they often determine their priorities independently. There is little autonomy and their activities must be co-ordinated with the work of others. Plans may be adjusted due to interruptions, such as unexpected rain or snow, the late arrival of supplies or rush orders. (2)
- Find information on the operation and maintenance of new equipment by looking in equipment instruction manuals and by talking to co-workers and trainers employed by equipment manufacturers. (2)
- Refer to floor plans and specifications and speak to co-workers to learn about construction projects. (2)
- May send text messages to update co-workers on progress being made on projects. (1)
- Use calculators and personal digital assistants (PDA) to complete numeracy-related tasks. (1)
- May use databases to retrieve inventory counts and order supplies. (2)
- May use communication software to exchange email with suppliers and co-workers. (2)
- Access online information, such as bulletins posted by suppliers, manufacturers, unions and associations. (2)
- May use the Internet to access training courses and seminars offered by apprenticeship trainers, suppliers, employers and associations. (2)
- May use digital multimeters and scan tools to measure current, voltage and resistance. (2)
- May use laptop computers to complete topographical surveys and generate diagrams. (2)
For the most part, construction trades helpers and labourers work with a journeyperson or apprentice, or they work independently to accomplish their assigned tasks. They may work as a member of a team on large jobs, such as when working with heavy equipment.Continuous Learning
Construction trades helpers and labourers have a recurring requirement to learn. This includes learning about new work materials and new construction procedures, as well as taking part in safety, first aid, apprenticeship or computerized surveying programs. Workers in the unionized construction sector, for which the union is the hiring hall, often take part in union-sponsored training programs.
Impact of Digital Technology
All essential skills are affected by the introduction of technology in the workplace. Construction trades helpers and labourers' ability to adapt to new technologies is strongly related to their skill levels across the essential skills, including reading, writing, thinking and communication skills. Technologies are transforming the ways in which workers obtain, process and communicate information, and the types of skills needed to perform in their jobs. For construction trades helpers and labourers, the use of technology, such as computerized survey tools, is increasing (e.g. workers may use digital multimeters and scan tools to measure current, voltage and resistance). Digital technologies also provide workers with tools, such as cellular telephones, which increase opportunities for verbal interaction and improve workplace safety. For instance, workers operating independently may contact supervisors and seek medical assistance using their cellular telephones.
Technology in the workplace further affects the complexity of tasks related to the essential skills required for this occupation. Workers need the skills to use increasingly complex software applications as sophisticated construction techniques have increased the complexity of drawings. On the other hand, workers can complete documents, such as equipment inspection forms, with speed and accuracy using specialized software applications that input data automatically. Workers can also calculate costs, material requirements, conversions, volumes and rates using Web-based applications, specialized automotive software, calculators and hand-held devices, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs).
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