So you’ve got yourself an apprenticeship, congrats! Now you’ve actually got the job, you should ask yourself a few questions: am I ready to start? Do I have all the right tools? Do I need to buy the tools myself? What tools do I need? If all of the questions are starting to make your head boil, here are some tips & tricks to help make the starting process easier.
Should You Start Collecting Tools Right Away?
It’s the worldwide debate that has plagued tradies for years; should I own all of my tools, or do borrow them as I go along? Well, even if you’re just starting out, it’s pretty important to have some of the basics under your belt (literally). Basic tools and equipment such as screwdrivers, both Phillips head and square, hammers and wrenches are important to have. They are an essential part of any toolbelt, plus they’ll give you a bit of extra confidence when you walk on site; no need to sheepishly ask your boss for a hammer.
Another great reason to start collecting tools is to practice your skills after hours. You don’t want to go home after work, forget everything you’ve learned that day and go back into work completely clueless. This way you can start practising fixing or building things at home, growing your skill levels every day. You can’t do any of that without your own set of tools.
Even if you don’t have anything to fix or build when you’re back at home, your brain will register the tool and its action. This is called haptic memory recall. When you feel or touch the item that you’ve used to learn a certain skill, you’ll be more likely to remember that skill later on. It’s psychology; google it.
When you begin your training, a great way to find your feet is by testing a whole range of tools. Just like shoes, some fit; some don’t. If you buy your own tools, you can start getting used to how your body reacts to different tools later on. If you decide you don’t like the way a certain tool feels, you can switch things up and try different brands. When you find your perfect fit, you’ll get more comfortable with yourself, and start earning faster.
When it comes to first starting your apprenticeship, you should begin with the end in mind, says Eve John from Fully Booked Tradies. Working in the trade industry gives you the “opportunity to own your own business one day,” she says, “make sure that you start right by making sure that you learn from your peers the best way not just to do the job but to handle people too. If you are good with your craft and good with people you can be great with your business.” You can learn more about Eve John by following her Twitter.
Tradies are such an important part of Australian infrastructure, it’s important that you are keeping up to date with the latest tools, uses and skills; you never know when the next big thing will happen! Keep in touch with other tradies, apprentices and designers so you can have a first-hand understanding of what’s new, and what’s accepted.
Don’t just stick to your field. If you’re a builder, sure you can become fully equipped in that field of knowledge, but you don’t have to sell yourself short in that field alone. Get yourself out there and start trying new skills. You’re training to be a plumber? Great. You can still go out, grab a chainsaw and learn a new skill. Becoming knowledgeable about other platforms is not only great for your resume, you can also determine what skill you’re best in. You don’t know what you’re the best at until you try something new!
Grab your boots, put on your fluro and own the site. Practice your skill every day, never give up and don’t forget; Australia needs you. Congrats on your apprenticeship; now get to work!