An apprentice in any trade won’t be paid much, but still they gets paid. The highest paid apprentice are in the masonry line. Simply put, they are called Construction Workers. This “title” itself makes many a locals shun this job as over the years, this field of work has been associated with illegal foreign workers. The situation was made worse when local contractors preferred foreign workers to locals as they are paid less but willing to work more. If you have the chance to visit a construction site, you will notice that more than 90% of those involved in the project are foreign workers, but if you are still interested to learn, there is still a chance. Join a small time contractor who specializes in renovation works.
You learn every aspect of the trade.
Joining a small time contractor has it’s advantages. They do everything themselves. From the earth work, the infrastructural work like drains and roads, the structural works like bar bending, the cement work like concreting, brick laying and plastering and wood work like the roof structure. A skilled worker can do all those. Some more resourceful ones even includes painting, plumbing and the electrical installations into their job scope.
Earn while you Learn
An apprentice with such a contractor is normally paid about 30 ringgit per day and if the contractor you are working for is a well trusted one, you can expect to work at least 20 days per month. This makes your monthly take home pay equivalent to about 600 ringgit per month. Of course there won’t be any perks and benefits like annual leave, sick leave or whatever, but some registered contractors do provide EPF contributions and Sosco coverage.
How Long will it Take.
An apprentice that has been on the field for 2 or 3 years, depending on his eagerness to learn and his intelligence, should be able to tackle most of the basic aspect of the job. They should already be very adept with the trowel, the hammer and the hoe. From that point onward, what he needs is lots and lots of practice.
To be able to lay a wall of bricks in a perfect elevation is not something that can be taught. This skill has to be acquired over time. In the same sense, to be able to plaster up a wall smoothly also takes practice. As long as he has learned the trick of mixing the cement in the right proportion so that it will stick to the wall when plastering, making it smooth won’t be a big obstacle. The most he needs is maybe two or three more practices and he should be able to catch hold of the trick that the masters used. This applies to every aspect of the job, like sawing a piece of plank in a straight line, hammering in a nail in 2 or 3 strokes without the nail bending and all other things that looks easy but takes time to master.
When is Graduation Day?
Sorry, there won’t be no graduation, but after 3 years, your boss, if he is a good and considerate boss, should be paying you at least 60 to 80 ringgit per day. If he does not, you should consider joining another contractor. A really skilled Construction Worker who can read technical drawings even without knowing a word of English can command up to 120 ringit per day. That makes his pay on par with a junior executive, but that’s not the stagnation point. You should be thinking of becoming a sub contractor yourself once you acquire all the know how.