Career advancement advice please!

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by Carlshope, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. Carlshope

    Carlshope New Member

    Hi people, I'm after some advice, and would appreciate your input from a position of experience. I'm 38, been retraining in construction for 2 years. Always on time /work hard / never pull sickies. No formal qualifications as I couldn't get someone to give me an apprenticeship for love nor money. I've been enjoying my work with a basement conversion company, do a bit of everything and have learnt a lot. I don't think by any means I'm great or know everything, got sooooo much more to learn. I seem to enjoy both first fix and finishing joinery but a bit of amateur brickie work and shuttering is good fun. I also do all the labourer tasks on site and have no problem with any type of work.

    I was recently left sole charge to do a little side job in a loft, converting a large room into two smaller ones. I've listed all the work I did as I'd like some opinions.

    This took me 5 days to do, sole charge and I think is typical of my work rate.

    • Partial removal of existing lath ceiling, new floor installed underneath, roof supports replaced and moved outward as per spec. Removal of built in wardrobes etc

    • Exposure of existing electrical and radiator for sparks / plumber.

    • Reinforcement of internal roof for velux window. Repaired damaged dormer wall.

    • Design layout and creation of two new walls, both with doors, and a return.

    • Moved a ceiling trapdoor away from new wall, and reinstated.

    • Dry fit 2 x rad. plumbing, reinforced walls for mounts. All walls insulated.

    • Boarded entire rooms with 8 x 4 sound board. Rafters packed to marry up with existing lathe on new exposed roof. Fixed floors where ripped up for work.

    • Hung 2 x doors, cut downlight holes for sparks, ran pull wires for all lights / sockets / switches.

    • removed all debris in rubble bags via internal stairs (½ a skip worth)

    All materials were solo carried from curbside up 3 x floors, (hot days in MCR lately as well!). Used all my own tools. Boss was happy with standard, client was very happy. No obvious mistakes.

    I will do all the finishing joinery after the plaster's been.

    I'd like to know from you experienced guys...

    • Am I being paid correctly at £65 a day after tax?

    • Is this an acceptable unassisted work rate for someone at roughly a 'mid apprentice' level?

    • Which direction should I head to improve from here? Online / book theory then convince someone to take me on as a junior? Do specialist 'block' courses at a college , like kitchen fitting, stair construction etc? Stay where I am and get faster whilst teaching myself?

    Thanks heaps for your time reading this long assed question. I basically just want to get better at my job and as a consequence, earn more / get more job satisfaction. All constructive input appreciated.
  2. Dr Bodgit

    Dr Bodgit Well-Known Member

    How may hours/day are you working...£65 for a days work hardly seems to be the minimum wage.
  3. Carlshope

    Carlshope New Member

    I work 8-4. I'm usually on tools / cleaning for an honest 7 1/2 hours.
  4. Dr Bodgit

    Dr Bodgit Well-Known Member

    OK just above minimum wage by my reckoning. I have no idea what rates are appropriate for such people but it strikes me to be as cheap as chips. Where are you located, as London rates will be vastly different to out in the sticks.
  5. Carlshope

    Carlshope New Member

    Based in Manchester. I'm hoping for, if the consensus is this is a low wage, any advice to improve my skills / prospects. I come from a hospitality background so have little knowledge of how to go about it.
  6. Jord86

    Jord86 Well-Known Member

    You didn't say whether you were directly employed by this company or a self employed subcontractor to them. Irrelevant of the workload achieved, you're still a second year learner so unfortunately can't expect to command similar money to work colleagues that have been doing it all their working lives. With respect as well, the jobs you listed you completed aren't particularly taxing, half of them being classed as a skilled labourers job, the other half a skilled DIYER. £65 after tax if you're on the books is a decent wage for a learner, if self employed not so good but still acceptable in my opinion, and I'm based in South Wales. Every tradesman young or old has had to go through the learning process and poor money to start, but those are the foundations that skills and knowledge is based on. I'd stick with the company youre with for at least another year, and try to negotiate a pay rise in six months. And start buying carpentry books and teaching yourself a broader range of skills.
    CGN and Carlshope like this.
  7. Carlshope

    Carlshope New Member

    Thanks for the time to reply. I agree that you should get a lower wage to begin with, and happy to hear someone confirm that mine is OK. I have bought several NVQ textbooks and am always reading online / trying new techniques but I'm certainly no more skilled than a good DIY person. I guess a lot of other industries have more formal learning paths for adults, and I find the lack of this frustrating. Also I can't find a skilled carpenter to work under for love nor money, so feel a bit 'alone in the wilderness'. Cheers for your opinion!
  8. stevie22

    stevie22 Active Member

    My opinion is that a good DIYer will generally match the quality of a pro but perhaps not the quantity. Maybe they don't have the tools the pro does or they haven't yet learned the shortcuts (or bodges).

    If you can achieve the right standard first then speed will come with practice and attitude/willingness to make things happen will get you though.

    Good luck.
  9. chippie244

    chippie244 Well-Known Member

    You only get paid in spam though.
  10. mr g imp

    mr g imp New Member

    Sounds like a bit more than skilled Labour. You could legitimately ask the boss for a better day rate.
    Or work for yourself and then you can decide how much to
    charge per day!

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