Architectural Sheet Metal Apprenticeship introduction
Metal Cladding can trace its roots hundreds of years ago to some of the most significant building structures in Europe and Asia. The trade was passed along from craftsman to apprentice as a one on one basis. Over the past hundred years, the advent of roll formed cladding profiles created viability of metal cladding as economical finishes for industrial and light commercial buildings. Today the malleability of metal finishes has created an almost infinite use of Architectural Metal Cladding for all types of building complete with rain screen system technology. The new Architectural Metal Cladding finishes incorporate all the best features of metal use from historical applications and incorporates modern technology to produce some fabulous architectural finishes.
As the industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two decades, the industry leaders wanted to ensure that the trades-people applying the product grow as well. In 2000 these industry leaders came together to form the Metal Cladding Association. One of their first priorities was to redesign the existing Sheet Metal training program in order to incorporate a building envelope module in each year of the program. The cladding industry was consulted along with associated industries such as the RCABC, which had updated their own apprenticeship programs, in order to create the best apprenticeship program possible. As the program developed it became evident to all involved that the program was significantly different from the existing program. The entire program was developed over an 8 year period and was tested over 3 years in the classroom and shop. As the training program developed a new apprenticeship designation was created, called Architectural Sheet Metal (click for short video). This training program was officially released in 2008 and had its first graduates into the construction industry in 2011.
The Architectural Sheet Metal worker would be fully trained in building envelope applications. They would be exposed to various types and styles of metal systems which would allow for growth of individual towards becoming an architectural building finishes journeyperson. Finishes such as composite aluminum panels, copper, zinc and stainless steel would become a part of the experience for the apprenticeship for Architectural Sheet Metal workers.
Developing a career as an elite trade crafts-person is the goal and the program is leading the way in the North American market as the first such program released. The program was developed around training a tradesperson and as such utilizes 60% hands on training with 40% theory and class work. The projects created in the classes relate directly to applied product lines for the industry creating confidence for the apprentice in most typical “real world” applications.
Currently there are two training facilities for the apprenticeship program. Depending upon the company the apprentice works for determines the facility supported for the development of the individual. The results of the skill sets acquired by the apprentices taking the program are working to provide the basic knowledge for a career as an elite building tradesperson.
There is also current interest from several other province apprenticeship programs regarding the Architectural Sheet Metal Worker apprenticeship plan. This interest indicates how well the program has been accepted and welcomed by the construction industry.