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Tradesman occupations

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Splatted
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Tradesman occupations

Postby Splatted » Sun, 17 Oct 2010 3:57 pm

I'm interested in learning a trade in Singapore.

I feel that an extra skill-set is vital for every person, as a backup if ever faced with redundancy.

What I would like to know is how one would get trained and qualified / certified in the following professions in Singapore:

* Tiles trademan (eg laying of bathroom tiles)
* Plumber
* Painter
* Electrical contracter (for fitting of wiring in an apartment)
* Plasterer

Obviously, I wont want to do all of the above, but I want to weigh up the possibilities and options.

Also, if anyone knows of any trademen that can teach any of the above, in return for free weekend labour, I'm also interested to hear.

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Strong Eagle
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Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 17 Oct 2010 4:45 pm

Unless Singapore is vastly different from other countries, and I haven't seen that it is, one learns these trades by starting out as an apprentice.

For tiles, you learn to carry the tiles, then mix the glue and grout, then how to cut tiles, and finally, you get to start with a simple project.

For people that can really goof things up (electrical, plumbing and such) there are usually local codes as to how long someone must be an apprentice and any exams they must pass.

My view is that to become a master in any of these requires years of experience... how to handle the tricky ones.

I have been a handyman since age 18, and I am skilled in (almost - I hate plastering) the skills you mention. I built houses in the summer while in school. I've built add ons, laid concrete foundations, wired rooms, installed sewer and water lines, toilets, faucets, and showers, and yes, installed tile.

I think that rather than trying to apprentice with someone, where you will be primarily a grunt, and your knowledge increase minimal, why don't you buy some handyman fix it books.

For example, a book on tile installation will tell you all about grout, glue, how to space tiles, how to cut tiles, what sort of subsurface to use, how to make a floor flat. You can buy enough stuff to really try out your hand... build your tile 'wall' on a 4 x 4 piece of greenboard, learn how to do it, and create 'art'.

Same applies to electricity and plumbing. Imagine a project, get the book, and do it. For example, put a new faucet onto your sink. Or, install an electrical outlet where you always wanted one. If you are more ambitious, put in a pressurized water heater that makes you run electrical and water.

Doing a good job of these things is like playing a guitar... practice and patience. I find it very rewarding to create things with my hands, and a nice diversion away from a job that is all in the head.

Let me tell you, plastering is something of a 'skill' job, especially if you want to match patterns and texture. Otherwise it is a pain in the ass.

Painting? A true pain in the ass. Buy a book to know how to clean up and prepare for oil and water based paints. Understand latex, enamels, acrylics, and such. Then let someone else do it. Sanding and filling is boring. Taping off is boring. Painting is boring.

My wife and I have done several projects where we went into the community to repair the homes of poor people. The guys like me who knew how to repair and replace things got the fun jobs... the others got to clean and paint.

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Postby ksl » Sun, 17 Oct 2010 8:46 pm

I agree with SE, a good book on DIY jobs will give you some practise in the home. Though most of my own skills were conducted at the industry college, for adult training and upgrading in Denmark run by the Union. Hundreds of different courses available. Though I doubt they have it here in Singapore. The UK have technical colleges that run night time course too..

Things like drainage and concreting I found quite interesting and useful to have the course certificates, as most labourers in UK have no theory but lots of practise, which turns out lots of cowboys.

There is no point in starting a job at all, if you are not going to do it correctly and by the book. Once you know the theory and you get some practise behind you, it will pay off in the long run, and you will never feel that you cannot survive..

It's surprising just how a person with theory and no practise also stands out as unqualified in Singapore yet they have been CEO of logistic and storage for years and yet they believe they have the experience.

Commonsense on racking and storage for example is also gained through knowledge of what racking can bear in terms of weight, and the boards used for supporting goods.

I warned an Ex CEO that he didn't have much idea of logistics at all if he was telling his workforce to stack those heavy boxes of 13kg each on a light frame racking system, one could see that only 4 tiny welds held the racking together. I would have been worried myself if i climbed on it. It collapsed the day after luckily little damage, though any person with a little bit of experience in stacking and racking should have known better.

Practice is essential and the more you get the better you become, in the early days, i always did free jobs, just to get the experience, people paid anyway, because they didn't like to take advantage, though i only offered to do the DIY jobs to gain experience. having a good eye of lines and levels, weight capacity, and weaknesses is very important.

Our new factory unit had weak spots on the drainage system only 4 inch wide with plastic covering, which i spotted the first day, the contractor said he would fix it, and laid normal tiles over...this is in a warehouse with pallets with over a ton in weight being moved around. The contractor should have had more sense, he has a great deal of experience, the problem was his workers did not.

So the tiles just caved in with the weight of the pallets being pulled over them.
They do have colleges here, so maybe you can join some night run courses, you can ask at the local community centres, they will know where to send you for training in basics of electrical, plumbing, welding and such.

My upgrading on welding was a disaster, I had to weld a water tight box for the exam, and water just ran out like a tap. ha! The second time around I managed it, trust me it looks easy, but its mastering the technique that matters.

Though you are better off to start at rock bottom on a generalisation course to understand technical drawings, tools, and doing handcraft in metal to specific tight measurements. Reading the drawings of any description be it electrical or building work is fundamental, before getting involved in practise as bad habits can be formed which are difficult to drop if the preparation is not done correctly.

There is a system with every project and to do it right, you must have everything that is needed no short cuts. :)

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Postby x9200 » Mon, 18 Oct 2010 6:17 am

Check with WDA. I am not sure if they provide anything for the mentioned ones on such basic level but they coordinate many job oriented trainings for adults and may know where to look for.

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Postby madura » Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:22 pm

Check also with the ITE. Most of the trade courses are held there and there are some which are night/ week-end classes.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 22 Oct 2010 10:40 pm

SE & ksl, there is one other way as well. Grow up on a farm like I did. Had to learn to do everything. Still love working with my hands.

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Postby nakatago » Sat, 23 Oct 2010 12:32 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:SE & ksl, there is one other way as well. Grow up on a farm like I did. Had to learn to do everything. Still love working with my hands.


I got a time machine here you guys could borrow.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 23 Oct 2010 10:02 am

nakatago wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote:SE & ksl, there is one other way as well. Grow up on a farm like I did. Had to learn to do everything. Still love working with my hands.


I got a time machine here you guys could borrow.


Don't need it. I'm on the farm at the moment and been getting reacquainted for the past 2 weeks! ;-)

And it sure feels good! :mrgreen:

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Postby nakatago » Sat, 23 Oct 2010 10:48 am

Ok, Doc Brown. I'll just take the DeLorean for a spin...

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Postby pakjohn » Sat, 23 Oct 2010 3:19 pm

Don't need it. I'm on the farm at the moment and been getting reacquainted for the past 2 weeks!

And it sure feels good!


Whoa! You're stateside? Were you home when that n'easter blew through last week? We were in the Adirondacks at Lake Placid and cut our vacation short to miss it.



Also, if anyone knows of any trademen that can teach any of the above, in return for free weekend labour, I'm also interested to hear.


I like the intern route, especially if you choose a small local outfit that will benefit from free labor. They don't often teach tricks of the trade in textbooks!
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Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 23 Oct 2010 10:47 pm

pakjohn wrote:I like the intern route, especially if you choose a small local outfit that will benefit from free labor. They don't often teach tricks of the trade in textbooks!


Like what?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 23 Oct 2010 11:06 pm

pakjohn wrote:
Don't need it. I'm on the farm at the moment and been getting reacquainted for the past 2 weeks!

And it sure feels good!


Whoa! You're stateside? Were you home when that n'easter blew through last week? We were in the Adirondacks at Lake Placid and cut our vacation short to miss it.



We only had a little bit of the fringe of it, not enough to make a difference, I missed the big one of last month by about a week, it flooded the farm but the water only got into one outbuilding a couple of inches, the rest it just came up to the top doorsteps! We weren't so lucky when Isabelle went through several years ago.

Being on the Eastern Shore of Md. Chesapeake Bay we are a bit further south. We are "usually" spared from the major winter storms. (Unless they come up from the south).

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Postby pakjohn » Sun, 24 Oct 2010 7:43 am

Like what?


SE, I'm assuming you mean what things he can learn from a craftsman that aren't often in books? Like what tools to buy and which to make, shortcuts to save materials and time, ways to quickly estimate material needs. How to organize the work, where to buy materials, how to navigate permits if it's a building trade. It's not terribly hard to lay hardwood flooring or ceramic tile, but it
sure makes it easier if you work with someone that understands how to lay out an uneven floor or irregular shaped room for wood or tile. I've built 2 homes and a number of outbuildings, the first one took forever but it taught me what questions to ask. I learned shortcuts like building all my door and window opening headers and cripples in advance, when to order material, who to ask for at the permit office, when to ask for draws on construction loans and so much more. I dried in my seond home on a long week with myself and 2 helpers using what I learned the hard way on my first home and more importantly what I learned working on the side for a home builder.

Being on the Eastern Shore of Md. Chesapeake Bay we are a bit further south. We are "usually" spared from the major winter storms. (Unless they come up from the south).


SMS
We're going to be in Dover, Delaware for Thanksgiving. That's just across the bay isn't it?
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 24 Oct 2010 8:17 am

PJ,

Dover is only 45 miles from the farm. Have spent a lot of time in Dover over the years. My deceased BiL lived in Dover around the time we enlisted in the Army back in '68. It's about 1/3rd the way down the DelMarVa peninsula.

Beautiful day today, up around 68 and clear as a bell. Calling for good weather/temps till Thursday but I'll be taking off for Singapore on Wed morning.


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