Apprentice & need input

Discussion in 'Ceramic & Stone Sales and Installations' started by Toronto77, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. Toronto77

    Toronto77 Rooky Trainee

    I just graduated from tile/terrazzo/marble trade school on Fri & I am a registered apprentice. Had a situation happen to me today & wanted input from the more seasoned tilers here.

    I answered an ad a contractor posted needing a tiler for a condo being built. I was VERY upfront on my status as an apprentice & that I wanted to work with a seasoned tiler to get my feet wet.

    He assigns me to a bathroom to tile the shower walls & got angry when I asked him questions. A couple of hrs later he comes in & complains I am slow and again gets mad when I ask any questions at all. I don't see him again until around 330pm. He gets pissed at how I did the tile cuts around the shower faucet and rips one of the tiles off the wall & throws to the ground. Again reiterating how slow I am. He then takes over & starts finishing the shower but asking me to use the grinder to make the cuts. One of the cuts was very complicated & the tile broke - he gets mad yet again that the tile broke. I packed up my knee pads & hard hat & walked out.

    My question: is this normal behaviour towards an apprentice who has just got out of trade school? How would any of you treat a new apprentice? Keep in mind I was totally upfront and truthful about my qualifications. I don't need my hand held but also can't do a job for the first time without some direction...?!
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  2. epoxyman

    epoxyman Pro Member

    Well first off congrats on you doing you school and wanting to learn on how to do things right and with pride.

    The guy you are working for sounds like a jerk and if I was you I'd look for a new job asap this guy is bitter in life and will just drag you down with him.

    I started my flooring trade doing tile mud floors mud walls epoxy grouts had some really good older guys teach me and I'm for every thankful for all they did for me.
    Good luck and welcome to the site

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  3. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    What's the trade school "graduate" supposed to be qualified to do? Here we have union apprenticeships that generally require 4 or 5 years on the job plus one week per quarter of classroom education. When you complete the hours on the job and the classroom hours you still have to pass the Journeyman test. By then you should be able to work without assistance on any basic installation. My trade is slightly different-----------resilient tile, carpet and soft floor coverings. But the masons/ceramic tile union has almost the identical program.
    I agree the guy sounds like a big jerk. But we have journeyman and even guys off the street who are posing as installers come out and frankly they can't keep up the pace necessary, nor do they genuinely have the skills/competence to COMPETE in my trade. In my old age I'm pretty kind to them as I show them the door. No yelling, no insults, no dirty looks. Just.............Thanks for your help, call the union hall. We don't need you here.
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  4. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    You're smart for walking away. I've never regretted the dollar I didn't earn from a schmuck!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Toronto77

    Toronto77 Rooky Trainee

    I texted him last night & told him I quit and how much I was owed for my work yesterday & when I can come pick up my cheque.
    Looking at the situation it was piece work - he wasn't interested in training or explaining - just get as many units in the condo completed. Maddening, esp as I mentioned I told him many times I was an apprentice. Oh well.
    The trade school isn't by any union, although you can join the Union if you want. It is a 9 week full time trade school course that exposes the student to tiling, marble & terrazzo. It doesn't guarantee the student a job but gives a foundation to work from & is the only trade school in Ontario that offers this. For tiling we did backsplash with a design, rooms with a diamond design in the middle, cement stair case that we had to level first then install tiles on steps/risers.
  6. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    You're calling yourself an apprentice doesn't really make you an apprentice. An apprentice absolutely needs an intense training program----------WHATEVER you want to call it or whatever form that may take. In the world of "subcontracting" otherwise known as "piece work" who would be in charge of training you? Doesn't make sense for an operation who is hiring out/contracting out labor costs to absorb the time and expense of grooming you for a career in your chosen trade. Like you said, they just need X units completed within a specific time frame. They have no long term interest in your career opportunities. Likewise many tile/stone/terrazzo installers will not be willing to train you to compete with them. They have every right to play it that way.
    I treat my apprentices pretty roughly, as I expect they will need thick skin and an understanding of how competitive this business is. But it's in my interest working for a decent size company that hires union workers to help generate hard working, highly skilled installers. Their talent improves my ability to manage large flooring projects where the work gets done to my standards under MY system of operating. I do explain to them that other Journeyman/Foreman will have various systems for installing. As apprentices they have to learn from every opportunity and be as flexible as possible to widen their horizon. So long as an apprentice give me an honest days work for an honest days pay he will earn my respect. Anything less and he can go taking a flying leap off the top floor. I have no use for slackers. Thanks for your help. Call the hall.
  7. Toronto77

    Toronto77 Rooky Trainee

    I appreciate your candid comments. Not sure how things work in your neck of the woods but here in Canada they officially do recognize & register workers as an Apprentice, so it's not just me putting that label on myself.
    As far as I am concerned if the dude's main worry was getting as many units done then he should have passed on asking me to come work, as I VERY clearly stated my current level of expertise. Ripping tiles of the wall, throwing them to the ground, continually saying I'm slow, yelling that I broke a tile by mistake when cutting it - if that's how certain ppl treat those that are apprentices on their first day no wonder this industry is running short on qualified tilers.
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  8. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    You really should be looking for a decent tile installer to pertner up with and learn the trade for at least a couple of years. You didn't do anything wrong, but jumping into work this way is just not going to be an easy road
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  9. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    There's 5000 ways to go with this.

    Day one your an Apprentice, no? Maybe Labor union calls them "helpers"?

    I see ads wanting to take advantage of this trade constantly. To cipher a legitimate company is rare.

    So I see, must be able to install 400 ft hardwood per day. Travel vct company, the Home Depot subcontractors, on and on.

    The piece numbers are low, therefor production must be high.

    Did you know your hourly rate? What does a helper start out at? It may be difficult to get the right placement/situation, usually you'll be the pack mule starting out, carrying tile, mixing mud, grouting, all the labor intensive work. You probably need a mom and pop shop, fitting in where needed, you might ask some setters who to stay away from. Most of us have been through what you're beginning to go through, but many have had construction background, I think you said you came from financial background. Well, you may work in the field for awhile and realize that's not where the money is at. Construction is plenty satisfying, making good in it isn't easy.
  10. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Most of the people I have seen that are advertising for an installer just means that they burned up all the regulars and looking for a gullable taker. Why not the crew where he bought it?
  11. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Here is an example of how "Apprenticeships" work in the U.S., you basically took an introduction to tile setting.

    I think I'm/this article is above "politics" so just government/business application I'm referring to. The 60k$ is probably high for tilesetters and that's after 4 year program.

    You’re Hired: Trump Plans to Build U.S. Workforce With Apprenticeships - The Wall Street Journal
  12. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    If the article can only be found in the politics section of a website, then it's politics.

    Don't post links that redirect to a different site. Your link to Apple News redirects to Wall Street Journal.

    Don't post links to sites that require paid subscriptions to read more than a few sentences. Nearly everything the WSJ requires payment to read can be found for free on dozens, if not hundreds of other websites. Like this one: Trump takes second crack at a pivot next week with apprentice push Still, that article can't be found anywhere I tried that isn't in the politics section of the site. So, I'm breaking the no-politics rule to post it.
  13. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Thanks Jim, I think it explained our(United States) program pretty well. I have clicked on sites that want paid subscription a couple times kinda like a trick and commercials are becoming more prevalent. I click out of a lot to find another comparable article/site.

    Not sure what Torontos hourly start rate was, and as Incog pointed out, that's no apprentice program. Similar to CFI's new carpet install program, or military comparison is "Boot Camp"
  14. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Maybe in incog's opinion, maybe even by US standards, but it IS an apprenticeship program in Canada. It's their standard there. I can't speak for the OP, but my hope was that this discussion wouldn't have gotten mired in semantics, but offered input on what someone new to the industry should do about an asshole boss. The boss happens to be Canadian too and should therefore have known the skill level and designation of the person he hired.
  15. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    I'm glad to see someone wanting to get into this trade. The schooling showed the basics and is a good start. Now you need to learn the industry. No matter the industry, it's still just people dealing with people. You are learning the trade but you already know how to interact with people and some people just aren't worth the time. Keep on trying and you'll get there. 20 years in and there is still another asshole waiting around the next corner. Sounds like you made the right move.
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