Are you detail-oriented, have good manual dexterity and enjoy a fast-paced environment?
If so, you may want to consider a rewarding career as a Lather/Interior Systems Mechanic.
The work of a Lather/ISM falls under the scope of what most people think only carpenters do – framing wall and ceiling systems with steel and light steel framing, gypsum wall board or any sheathings that are mechanically fastened.
If it’s a wall or ceiling that is fastened by screws, they do it.
The Finishing Trades Institute of B.C. (FTI) provides apprenticeship training programs at their Surrey training centre for Lather/Interior Systems Mechanics (ISM) as well as journeyperson upgrade courses.
“Lather/ISM is the official trade name registered with the Industry Training Authority,” says FTI Director of Training Mark Longmore. “Drywaller is a general slang term used on job sites, but other names include Carpenter/Lather, Steel Framer, Commercial Framer/Carpenter, Wall and Ceiling Installer and so on. I believe this is half the reason our industry is relatively unknown to the public.”
Lather/ISMs also do 90 per cent of the fire-proofing on jobs, as well as shaftwall systems, acoustical and specialty ceilings, access flooring, interior demountable systems and rain screen building envelopes.
About 85 per cent of a three-year FTI apprenticeship program takes place through learning on the job, the other 15 per cent is spent in the classroom and shop environment learning new skills and trade theories.
Three in-school training levels include:
Level 1 – Job site safety, basic light gauge framing techniques and drywall installation plus an introduction to blueprint reading, designing, creating and drafting a project that becomes the student’s mock-up.
Level 2 – Further technical framing including suspended ceilings, fire proofing, T-bar and advanced lay-out and blueprints.
Level 3 – Structural framing, specialty ceilings, demountable systems, access flooring, along with interpreting engineered shop drawings, building envelope and estimating.
FTI apprenticeship training and Red Seal Certification provides students with the knowledge and skills to build confidence with the specific systems and helps advance them to successful roles as Journeypersons and the potential for supervisory positions.
“The main benefit of a career in this industry is the amount of work in general,” says Stewart Baird, FTI Instructor/Coordinator. “Our trade is definitely not a seasonal job – you can easily make anywhere from $30 per hour to $150k per year. If you’re a hard worker and show up every day, there is always work for you, and because it’s a fast-paced industry your work days seem to fly by.
“There is not a tradesperson out there who doesn’t say with great pride – “I built that!”
FTI also offers Red Seal training for Painter Decorator, Glazier, Wall and Ceiling, Drywall finishing, and Hazmat.