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How can I become a dock builder?
Training for dock builders is generally available through local-management apprenticeship committees. These committees, made up of contract and union representatives, make sure you get proper instruction while you are working to earn a decent wage. The first thing to do is call your local Dock builder or Carpenter union to get more information. And remember, dock builders are members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, a proud organization with more than 650,000 members like yourself.

What is apprenticeship training?
An apprentice is someone who is learning a trade while working under the guidance of skilled workers called journeymen. Apprenticeship is on-the-job training. You earn while you learn, and are paid a wage from the first day you become an apprentice. Today women are welcome in this specialized field. Beginning apprentices usually start at about half of the journeymen rate of pay. Your wages are increased periodically, usually every six months, until you reach the full journeyman scale at the end of the apprenticeship period. In most cases the length of your apprenticeship is four years, with no cost to you for the training. What a bargain!

How do I prepare for apprenticeship?
If you are still in school, you should take classes in mathematics, drafting or mechanical drawing, industrial shop or any construction courses, which familiarize you with construction technology. These classes will help you to develop the dexterity and practical thinking skills you will need as an apprentice dockbuilder.

What are the hours and working conditions?
Dock builders generally work eight-hour days starting at 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning. However, on projects like bridges, highways and overpasses, dockbuilders may be required to work nights and weekends, and to travel long distances. In such cases the union sees to it that dock builders are compensated with shift pay and travel allowances. Apprentices usually start out by helping journeymen with basic tasks like material handling, and move into more sophisticated jobs as their knowledge and skills increase. Overalls, hard hats, gloves, eye protection and steel toed boots are worn by dock builders to protect them from falling objects and the dirt, oil and debris associated with heavy equipment and machinery. Dock builders work with a variety of hand and portable power tools, and frequently cut, join and fasten metal construction materials using welding equipment and oxy-acetylene torches.

The pay and benefits really add up!
The rewards of apprenticeship training are the good wages and benefits you receive as a skilled building and construction tradesperson. And if you learn to become a commercial diver you will get even higher wages. We'll see to it! Because union dock builders and belong to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. You'll be working for a good contractor with the protection of a union contract, with health insurance, pension and welfare benefits.

It pays to be the best you can be — an apprentice-trained dock builder.