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Army Air Force

Construction Technician

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time, Part Time


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Overview

Construction Technicians provide structural engineering support to operational units at home and abroad.

The Construction Technician job is one of seven Construction Engineering positions that provide all construction, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering services to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operations. The primary responsibilities of the Construction Technician are to:

  • Construct, repair and maintain buildings for the protection of personnel and equipment
  • Produce related structural designs and specifications
  • Produce related structural drawings
  • Construct field defences
  • Harden field structures
  • Erect prefabricated structures

Work environment

Construction Technicians often work with the challenges that come with varying environments. They maintain their skills while employed at home units or on humanitarian and United Nations operational assignments.

Career Overview

Transcript

TITLE:

CONSTRUCTION TECHNICIAN

SERGEANT SHAWN EDDISON: I’m Sergeant Shawn Eddison from Corner Brook, Newfoundland – a Construction Technician currently posted to Canadian Forces Base Kingston.

Construction Technicians work with all units of the Canadian Armed Forces – the Army, Air Force, Navy, Joint and Special Operations – building and maintaining barracks, hangars, storage facilities, offices, and temporary shelters. They are part of the highly skilled and versatile Construction Engineering division, working alongside Drafting and Survey Techs, Electrical Generating Systems Techs, Electrical Distribution Techs, Plumbing and Heating Techs, Mechanical and Refrigeration Techs as well as Water, Fuels and Environment Techs to support Canadian Armed Forces operations here at home and overseas.

SERGEANT SHAWN EDDISON: You can’t be a Construction Technician without actually dabbling into the other worlds in this construction engineering trade. We often rely on other members of other trades to help us as they rely on us to help them. It’s a great opportunity to get some cross training. We’re one big happy family.


Here in Canada, Construction Techs are involved in drafting the plans, as well as building and maintaining all the permanent physical structures on base. From starting off a new building from scratch, to putting up the roof, to finishing off the interior – block work, tile work, drafting, framing, drywall, painting – Construction Techs do it all.


On deployment, troops are often going into areas where the infrastructure isn’t up to Canadian standards, or possibly isn’t there at all. 

SERGEANT SHAWN EDDISON: As a Construction Technician, you’re very often called upon to be the first people into a situation, and very often to be the last person out. Prior to a camp set-up or prior to an established site, it’s our job to actually build the camp up, to give a more comfortable living environment and provide the necessary infrastructure for people to work out of – not just the front-line people like the infantry or the artillery, but also everyone that’s behind the scenes, like the administration side of it with our clerks, officers, medics, any of those trades. We assist those to actually build up the infrastructure, so that they can work and they can do their job.

SERGEANT SHAWN EDDISON: I’ve deployed twice as a Construction Tech – once on Op Reassurance in Latvia, and another on Op Impact in Kuwait. Both experiences were amazing experiences. Just for the fact that you get to work with so many different personalities, not only around Canada, but also from around the world, with the other countries that are deployed on these operations with us. 

On completing their military and preliminary occupation training, Construction Technicians are assigned to a Real Property Operations unit or a Construction Engineering Flight for two years of on-the-job experience and training. They’ll work under the supervision of senior technicians on tasks that get progressively more complex as time goes by.

SERGEANT SHAWN EDDISON: During your first posting, you can probably be expected to follow the journeyman and really gain as much experience as possible. And you really need to be a sponge for those first couple of years. Because, like anything, you will be taught and shown one way how to do things, but there’s tricks of the trade that other, more experienced personnel can give you to kind of assist you in the years following your initial training.

At the end of this 2-year apprenticeship, Construction Techs head back to Gagetown to complete their journeyman training. When that’s done, they return to their unit as a fully qualified technician, able to work without supervision and ready to be deployed.

SERGEANT SHAWN EDDISON: In Kuwait, we built a hockey rink to play ball hockey. We made it possible so that all nations of the battle group could have a place to play ball hockey while deployed, get some good inter-country rivalry going, I guess, in the form of hockey, right? Nothing more Canadian than that – building a ball hockey rink in another country to try to get every other country together on the same page. 

Related Civilian Occupations

  • Carpenter
  • Roofer
  • Mason
  • Certified Engineering Technician (Civil/Construction)

Training

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

After Basic Training, Army recruits go to a Military Training centre for the Basic Military Qualification – Land Course for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:

  • Army Physical Fitness
  • Dismounted Offensive and Defensive Operations
  • Reconnaissance Patrolling
  • Individual Field Craft

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Construction Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick. Training takes approximately 29 weeks and includes:

  • Environmental skills such as defensive tactics and firearms
  • Care and use of common and special purpose tools and test equipment
  • Application of occupational codes and regulations
  • Interpretation of drawings and schematics
  • Constructing/hardening structures
  • Concrete/masonry
  • Roofing systems
  • Wood and steel framing
  • Painting
  • Construction survey
  • Physics principles

Construction Technician may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training.

Entry plans

The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec, including Grade 10 applied math or 416/CST IV in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.

Part time options

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time with a military unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Construction Technicians may serve with the Canadian Army or the Royal Canadian Air Force. They are employed to provide structural engineering support for CAF training and operations. Those employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis usually serve at a military base, wing or unit located within Canada.

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, occupational training for Construction Technicians takes approximately 29 weeks and is conducted at the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units on a term basis, depending on their occupations. They are paid 92.8 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.