Office Life in the Construction World
My Nonno (Italian for grandfather) arrived in Canada back in the 1950s. Like many Italians of the era looking to better their lives, he found work in construction. However, unlike many of his fellow immigrants, he shifted into the office side of the industry. He partnered with another man and started his own business, which he eventually became the sole owner of. His experience and skills in construction played a huge part in his success, but working in the office demanded additional skills and an understanding of how businesses operate in Canada.
As a sole-proprietor in Canada, you are considered a business in the eyes of the government. Construction is no less complicated than any other industry; you cannot complete everything on your own and will have to take on employees or other contractors. My Nonno was fortunate in having a bounty of talent that he knew personally, as they came with him from Italy. You will want to ensure that you can similarly depend on the people you work with.
In the trades industry, there is still administrative and customer relation work that needs to be handled just as in other industries. An office assistant can help in scheduling and maintaining receipts for projects. A great number of supplies must be purchased and managed with care; this requires a focus on details as many construction companies have run into trouble for both ordering too few supplies and ordering too many. Construction is extremely deadline-oriented, and small mistakes that are not caught immediately can lead to large-scale problems very quickly. It is very common to take on subcontractors for projects, and their work has to be scheduled carefully to avoid delays. There are also various permits that must be thoroughly researched and filed before tight deadlines.
Salesperson skills are also of great importance, as a great deal of office work is needed to manage contracts and put out bids for potential projects. Many organizations, such as condominiums, will put out a request for proposals, or RFPs, and having someone in the office ready to respond to these is essential for the long-term success of a company.
Although working in an office performing these roles requires strong skills in communication, organization, and time management, educational prerequisites are generally not difficult to meet. When my Nonno was managing his office, a high school diploma was more than enough to land you a job. Nowadays, training programs and associate degrees from a college will provide you with sufficient training in business math and organizing business records that can put you ahead of the competition.
The trades industry is varied and filled with opportunities for those with manual skills, but it takes teamwork for a company to operate successfully. My Nonno succeeded with natural talent for the manual labour, and from there gained knowledge of the office aspects through experience. Today, many college programs and internships can give you a head start. The industry is filled with opportunities for a variety of skillsets.
Source: Study.com. Construction Administrative Assistant. http://study.com/articles/Construction_Administrative_Assistant_Job_Description_and_Requirements.html