Young Apprentices

Oh remember the days of being young on site? Ready to prove to everyone that you were going to be the best welder/fitter/electrician/scaffolder/carpenter (or whatever trade you’re in) this world has ever seen. Ready to get your hands dirty and dig in. Most young apprentices have the best intentions of working safely, however a brain of an 18 year old isn’t exactly the seasoned brain of someone who’s been in the trades for 20 years. Young apprentices are wired a bit differently than the rest of us. Let’s go over what makes them different and how we can lead them to a long and safe career.

I think the best way to describe a young apprentice is; eager. Which for the most part is great; however, that eagerness may sometimes override common sense. Young people on site may be so eager to get the job done, they may not use common safety sense. They may unknowingly put themselves or others in danger. At this young age, they may not have as much foresight as we do. They think differently than we do; they don’t have the experience that we have, and the trades can be overwhelming. As well, some of us may come across as intimidating to them, making it increasingly difficult to ask questions or ask for help. So, it’s up to us to lead these young workers onto the right path. Take these young apprentices under your wing, don’t let them ‘learn the hard way’. Have a positive attitude towards safety. Remember, you are their example, if you complain about PPE and JHA’s, that teaches them to also be negative and possibly careless. Don’t just tell them to do something, tell them why we do it that way. Always point out hazards; it may be common sense to us, but for a “green as grass worker” it could be a huge eye opener.

We were all there at one time and someone showed us the way. Now it’s our turn to be leaders. With the injuries among workers under 25 on the rise, this is our time to teach the youth in the trades the safe way to do their job. Otherwise, who will do it when we’re all gone?

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