Success Story: Delaney Krieger
Drywall, Acoustics & Lather Apprentice
Started July 2019
Delaney’s current role is a drywall, acoustics & lather apprenticeship, one of three Red Seal programs available within the Carpenters Union. She’s based in Windsor, Ontario, with Carpenters Union Local 494 and is working on a condominium development.
What does Delaney do?
Working with a partner, Delaney frames and lays out each floor. Specifically, she:
- Reviews the prints and makes chalk lines where the walls will go
- Installs the top and bottom metal tracks on the lines
- Adds the studs to these tracks to frame the walls
- Frames door headers, cold air returns, etc.
- Adds soundbar to the walls
What are the benefits of a career in the skilled trades?
“I love it so far. You get a bit of experience on everything,” Delaney says, adding that for her that can mean tasks like figuring out where the walls will go, cutting the pieces of track, and marking the studs.
She also likes that you get to see progress and are involved from start to finish.
“I can’t emphasize the benefits of the apprenticeship pathway enough. I had a good-paying career right out of high school. That’s definitely an attractive feature that I think not a lot of people know about.”
What advice do you have for younger you?
Delaney has advice for students: “The first step is jumping in feet first.”
“Get your foot in the door and then figure it out and find your niche. That’s how I figured out what I wanted to do.” Delaney started as a General Carpentry Apprentice, but switched to a Drywall, Acoustics, and Lathing Apprentice (sometimes also referred to as an Interior Systems Mechanic) as she learned what she enjoyed doing the most.
“You’ll never know until you try it,” adding that it’s okay to make the switch. “The biggest thing for someone considering the trades is that most of the skills are transferable.” For example, reading a tape measure…once you learn your measurements and fractions, even if you change trades, you can take that skill with you into things like plumbing or electrical.
Delaney realized what financial freedom trades offered when her car broke down in her first year of training and she realized that she didn’t have to settle for buying a cheap car but could buy anything she wanted. That new truck is her favourite right now!
She’s expecting to write her exam within a year-and-a-half and with her Red Seal her wage will go up to $33-40/hour! “That was the attractive feature to me.”
What does her apprenticeship entail?
According to the Canadian Red Seal standards, to finish a drywall acoustic mechanic & lather apprenticeship takes about 5,400 hours. The majority of the apprenticeship is completed through work experience and through two blocks of 8-week in-class sessions (basic and advanced).
Delaney explains that those hours are divided up and the usual path can take 3 years or more. Then apprentices can write their Certificate of Qualification (CofQ) which for Carpenters is a Red Seal certification (demonstrating excellence and offering labour mobility across Canada).
For her Carpenters Union, apprentices attend trade school twice, each course is offered in an 8-week block. Delaney paid $500 to hold her spot but after graduation, the union pays that back. For school she had to live in Hamilton for that time but she collected Employment Insurance, the union paid $1,500 for room and board, and the government offered funds for travel; that meant she was making $600/week to go to school. “It was awesome!” Delaney spent her weekends hiking and exploring the area, “It was a cool opportunity to explore a new place.”
Delaney found school very interesting and highlighted some points:
- There are 5 sectors: math, theory, practical, blueprint, overall communication.
- You build a bulkhead over two days in the shop, eventually splitting it down the middle and creating 10 cubbies, 1 for each person in the class.
- A typical day is math and a building assignment, then occasionally theory and blueprint.
- For the first 4 weeks you work at a relatively fast pace to create a gothic arch, door frame, walls, hexagon window, step down bulkhead, angled bulkhead, and column.
- In your 4th week there’s a midterm, a written test that includes math, theory, and blueprints.
- After that is layouts, making walls square and straight, then doing a big cleanup by taking down the structures and determining what materials can be reused.
- In the last weeks you work on final projects, ending with a practical exam where you have 2 days to build a module that has 4 freestanding walls, then adding all of the elements that you learned in your initial cubby build.
What will you do after finishing your apprenticeship?
“Ideally I’d like to work as a journeyperson for a few years to get experience,” says Delaney. After that she’d like to work as a foreman or lead hand and run her own crew. Eventually she’d like to explore the management side of things and delegate work. Delaney knows that each step takes time and knowledge so right now she’s focused on learning everything that she can… and having a blast while she does it!
The General Carpenter of today does a lot more than woodworking. They also construct, renovate, and repair structures made of steel, concrete, and other materials. You will build door and window systems, stairs, posts, and handrails. You will also install concrete foundations and frame floors, walls, ceilings, and roofs.
From the get-go, you establish building plans and prepare worksites. Your work will come in the form of houses, condos, stores, and skyscrapers. You are making an impact from the ground, up.
Want to learn more about jobs like Delaney’s?
Skilled Trade Jobs Information
Explore Ontario’s Labour Market
Read Other Success Stories
Thinking about your career? The skilled trades could be perfect for you.
Reasons to consider the skilled trades
The skilled trades provide rewarding, lucrative and purpose-driven career pathways that are in high demand.
What are the skilled trades?
Spanning the construction, industrial, motive power and service sectors, learn about the 140+ skilled trades in Ontario.
Can I pursue a skilled trade?
Find out if you’re eligible to pursue a skilled trade in Ontario. Spoiler: there’s a skilled trade for everyone.
Frequently asked questions
Providing answers to your biggest questions about the skilled trades. Covers everything from the pay to training.