Work Where You Want: Outdoor versus Indoor Trades
By the time you’re deciding on a trades career, chances are you have a good idea whether you prefer working outdoors, or indoors. Since there is a broad range of trades available across all sectors, whether you’re an indoor or outdoor you will be able to find a trade that suits you.
Trades are divided into four main sectors: Construction, Industrial, Motive Power, and Service. Each of these sectors contains dozens of trades, and a mix of indoor and outdoor trades.
The word construction brings to mind constructing buildings, but the construction sector contains many different specific trades both indoors and outdoors, and some that are a combination.
Many trades in the construction sector involve work that is almost entirely done indoors and out of the elements, working inside partially or entirely completed houses, commercial buildings, and industrial buildings. These include plumbers, electricians, installers of drywall and flooring, sprinkler system installers and pipefitters, to name a few.
Outdoors trades in the construction sector range from crane operators and heavy equipment operators for trucks, bulldozers, and backhoes, to hands-on trades such as bricklaying and stonemasonry, installing and finishing concrete, and working as roofers and shinglers,
There are also a handful of construction trades that can have work both indoors and outdoors, depending on the job or the company you work for. These include glaziers installing external windows or internal glass and mirrors, carpenters building interior walls and doorways or decks and railings outdoors, and painters both inside and outside residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.
Trades in the industrial sector are often within industrial buildings or factories–but not always. There are also many outdoor industrial trades.
Many of the indoor trades in the industrial sector involve work inside manufacturing plants and involve operating industrial machinery, such as CNC operators, tool and die makers, draftspersons, welders, industrial electricians, and machinists. Cabinetmakers, elevator mechanics, and locksmiths are industrial trades that often occur on site, such as building and installing cabinetry in a commercial building, performing maintenance on an elevator in an apartment or highrise, or installing, repairing and changing locks both inside and outside buildings.
Some of the outdoor industrial trades include working at train yards as a railway car technician, inspecting and repairing power lines as an electrical power line and cables technician, transporting goods as a tractor-trailer driver, or working various trades related to quarrying and mining.
Motive Power Sector
The motive power sector of the trades encompasses those trades that have to do with motors, and spans multiple industries from agricultural to automotive to transportation. Most motive power trades involve working mostly indoors, with the possibility of occasional outdoor work depending on the job or company.
These indoor motive power trades include automotive mechanics, auto body maintenance and repair and automotive painters, as well as heavy duty equipment mechanics who work on large engines such as those found in buses and tractor-trailers, or agriculture tractors and combines, as a few examples.
Motive power trades which may include some outdoor work are marine engine mechanics, agricultural equipment mechanics, and heavy duty equipment mechanics who may be required to service and repair equipment outdoors on site at ports or docks, farms, mines or quarries, and construction sites.
Lastly, the service trades sector includes trades that involve working directly with the public to offer services to customers. While it’s easy to think service trades will all take place indoors, there are also a variety of outdoor service trades.
Indoor service trades include educational sector jobs such as early childhood educators, child and youth workers, and educational assistants, as well as Aboriginal child development practitioners. There are also various food service trades such as cooks, chefs, bakers, and butchers. Artisans and craftspeople, including Aboriginal clothing and crafts, jewelry and watch repair, and goldsmiths all require clean indoor workspaces. Hairstylists and barbers operate exclusively indoors, as well, as do IT technical support and customer service technicians. Special events coordinators will work mostly indoors, but may have outdoor work for events that are held outdoors.
A few of the outdoor service sector trades are agricultural herdspeople for dairy and swine, arborists and landscapers working in residential, commercial, and public parks to plant and maintain trees and greenspaces, and horse grooms and other animal care workers.