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If you're an experienced tradesperson, you might be thinking about advancing your career by becoming a foreman. You’ll need superior leadership and interpersonal skills to motivate your team to get the project done properly and on schedule. You’ll assess workers’ skills and assign tasks, ensuring they use operate safely.
As a foreman, you might be employed to help complete a large project, such as road, bridge, or building. Coordinating with a project manager or contractor, you’ll need a thorough understanding of the construction process so you can help plan schedules, estimate the cost of labour and materials, and manage daily activities.
As a foreman, you are responsible for training and supervising labourers, apprentices, and journeymen. When overseeing your crew, you’ll still take part in the physical labour, so you’ll need to stay fit. Your hours will vary according to the demands of each project. You could have regular daytime hours, or you might work nights and weekends. Normally, you work 40 hours a week, with the possibility of overtime, and report to a general contractor, project manager, or owner.
Foreman salaries in Canada depend on your location, the type of work you do, and whether or not you’re licensed. Foremen with a background in skilled trades earn higher wages than those without. For example, the average annual salary for a carpentry foreman is about $64,000, whereas the average salary for a landscaping foreman is about $43,000. An electrical foreman earns about $81,000.
When you first take a leadership position, your salary will be at the lower end of the range. More experienced foremen can earn excellent wages and benefits. The overall average salary for a foreman in Canada is about $60,000 a year.
Workers look up to you. Your conduct on the job must lead the way. Whether you’re planning the work or doing quality control, your crew learns from you. You’ll need to set the standard to expect the same quality from others. As a foreman, you’ll be involved in:
You can work anywhere there are construction projects or industrial shops. Construction projects are especially expected to increase in the energy sector. Some projects are already in progress or are about to start across Canada, from hydroelectric construction in British Columbia to an energy transmission project in Nova Scotia.
The transportation sector also shows promise for job growth with new subway extensions in Toronto, a new bridge in Windsor and airport upgrades in Calgary and Vancouver. Now is the time to use the skills and experience you’ve built in your field, and apply them to a leadership role anywhere!
Although foremen leads other workers, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves yourself. You’ll need to show how to perform a task, and sometimes your entire team will be needed to accomplish work. Once you’ve become a foreman, you’ll need:
Some foreman jobs require a high school diploma followed by an apprenticeship. Most trades require vocational training related to your field. You’ll also need experience as a fully qualified journeyperson. Only after several years of work will you be considered for a position as a foreman.
Construction foremen may not need to have a specific education, but rely heavily on the knowledge and experience they’ve built up in their chosen field. Many employers prefer a candidate who has thorough knowledge of industry equipment and tools, combined with an ability to lead and train staff.
As a foreman with years of supervisory and project management experience, you’ll be well-versed in many aspects of managing a team, positioning you as a candidate for higher level jobs in your industry. With your knowledge and experience, you could be promoted to construction manager, project manager, or superintendent.
You can improve your prospects by completing a two or four year degree or diploma in a relevant field, such as engineering, construction science, architecture or project management.