Are you interested in scaffolding jobs in Vancouver or elsewhere in BC? Find out more about one of the most in-demand trades in Canada, including where to get scaffolding training in BC and what kind of scaffolding work is available through the Carpenters Union.
Scaffolding work is an integral part of any construction project and involves building temporary but structurally sound work platforms that allow other members of the skilled trades to complete their work safely.
Any task that takes more than 15 minutes requires a scaffold. Without scaffolding, craftspeople like pipe fitters and millwrights would not be able to do their jobs safely or effectively. Scaffolding work is needed for the entire duration of any project, which is why it is one of the most in-demand trades in Canada, including BC.
The decision of which one to use often comes down to availability and preference; however, in BC you’ll most likely either use tube and clamp or a PERI system.
Scaffolding work available through our signatory contractors in BC are primarily in the commercial and industrial sectors. Once you are a journeyperson scaffolder, you can work on any type of project and easily move between the commercial and industrial sectors, as the skillset is the same.
Industrial scaffolding projects involve building work platforms for large industrial plants and infrastructure projects, such as refineries, power plants, paper mills, and cement plants.
Due to the hazardous nature of these projects and the expertise required, wages are higher in the industrial sector. These projects are usually in remote locations and are more likely to have the potential for overtime.
Scaffolding has historically been unregulated compared to other skilled trades and is still not recognized as a Red Seal Trade. However, the industry is becoming more standardized, and an increasing number of employers are requesting proof of training.
The British Columbia Regional Council of Carpenters (BCRCC) offers the best scaffolding training in BC. We have two state-of-the-art training centres: one in the Lower Mainland in Delta and the other in Prince George. During training, you will learn different scaffolding types, starting with the tube and clamp, as this is the basis for other systems.
You may have heard that scaffolding is one of the best trades in BC because there is plenty of work available. To receive the excellent scaffolding training at the BCRCC, you’ll need to become a member, after which all the training required to be able to work on-site is covered by the union.
To become a journeyperson scaffolder, you must complete a four-year apprenticeship. Each year consists of two levels and includes a combination of theory and work hours on a job site. The apprenticeship culminates in a written exam as well as a practical build exam. After passing these exams, you receive a journeyperson ticket. Although this is not recognized as a Red Seal trade, our tickets are accepted everywhere due to our reputation for excellent training.
If you already have experience with scaffolding or carpentry and are interested in further training or a union scaffold job, you may not need to start from square one. Our reps assess each person on a case-by-case basis to determine what level of training is required. Some things the union will consider are:
Many scaffolders have been working in the industry for several years and have gained valuable experience on the job without having any formal training (because none was available). In this case, we offer a journeyperson upgrader program – a condensed version of our scaffolding apprenticeship program. This course will help scaffolders prepare to take the tests required to achieve their journeyperson certification. (Note that 7800 work hours are also required to become certified via the journeyperson upgrader program).
We welcome journeyperson carpenters who want to also become journeyperson scaffolders. There is an overlap between these skilled trades; so the process of getting ticketed is usually faster than it is for people who are completely new to scaffolding. You may be able to put some of your carpentry apprenticeship experience towards your scaffolding apprenticeship.
Whether you’re an experienced scaffolder interested in union scaffolding jobs or are starting from scratch as someone who wants to do scaffold training, there are significant benefits to becoming a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC). Scaffolding is becoming more standardized every day, and the BCRCC offers the gold standard of training. Here are some reasons to join our union:
Part of how we offer careers in construction rather than just construction jobs is through our career-advancement training. In addition to safety training, equipment training, and specialized skills training, we offer programs at UBC’s International Training Center in Las Vegas that take our members’ careers to the next level. Beginning in the third year of apprenticeship, members are offered courses to develop:
These skills help you become a more effective scaffolder and job site leader by enhancing your ability to integrate into a team, communicate effectively, and contribute to a healthy, productive job site culture. This not only reduces costly staff turnover but also helps contractors succeed and bid on more projects, thus providing more work for our members.