By Vogel Bros. Safety Department

Apprenticeships play a fundamental role in supplying the construction industry with skilled workers. Apprentices build their skills through hands-on learning while earning good wages and getting free training through the union; all without incurring student loan debt. Over the years, Vogel Bros. Building Co. has proudly supported both Carpenter and Laborer apprentices. As part of National Apprenticeship Week (November 12 – 18), we talked with some of our Wisconsin apprentices regarding their experience so far: both in their trade and while working for Vogel Bros.

Chris Rutledge, Carpenter Apprentice
What made you want to become a carpenter apprentice?
My dad’s cousin is in the carpenter’s union and he helped talk me into it. Before, I was working for mom and pop places. This was a good opportunity to get more experience in the field and broaden my horizons. The benefits are great too.

To you, what is the most interesting thing you’ve learn or done so far in your apprenticeship?
At a recent office project, we built various huts inside the office area. The huts were all different and seemed weird to me in the early stages of building them. But once they were done, they actually seemed really cool. It was a very interesting place to work at.

If you could pick one safety tip or piece of advice to share with someone new to construction and new to Vogel Bros., what would you tell them?
Make sure you wear your safety glasses. There have been multiple times I’ve had stuff come at my eyes and would’ve hit me in the eyes if it weren’t for my safety glasses.

What do you like best so far about working for Vogel Bros.?
I love how everybody is really helpful. If you have a question, ask it. Everybody’s there to help you. I’ve worked at jobs where guys put you on a job alone and tell you to just figure it out. But that’s not the case at Vogel Bros.

David Dombrowski, Carpenter Apprentice
What made you want to become a carpenter apprentice?
I’ve enjoyed working with my hands and building since my experience in a high school woods class. That seemed to be an area I naturally excelled in.

To you, what is the most interesting thing you’ve learn or done so far in your apprenticeship?
So far the most interesting thing I’ve worked on was probably cutting an opening in a roof for a sky bridge from building to building.

If you could pick one safety tip or piece of advice to share with someone new to construction and new to Vogel Bros., what would you tell them?
If there’s a task you’re unsure of or uncomfortable doing, just ask for help.

What do you like best so far about working for Vogel Bros.?
What I’ve really liked about working for Vogel Bros. is the group of people I’m working with and getting to learn from a diverse group.

Ron Placko, Carpenter Apprentice
What made you want to become a carpenter apprentice?
The job I was doing before I was in the union (building residential houses) would have me do unsafe jobs. Plus I’ve always liked carpentry.

To you, what is the most interesting thing you’ve learn or done so far in your apprenticeship?
The most interesting thing is that on this job I helped pour the foundation, and I’m still at the same job but now the building’s half-way done. It’s interesting watching the project progress.

If you could pick one safety tip or piece of advice to share with someone new to construction and new to Vogel Bros., what would you tell them?
Watch where you step. Even something as minor as a hole in the ground can cause injuries.

What do you like best so far about working for Vogel Bros.?
It is a tight-knit family and so far everybody seems to get along.

Spencer Shuman, Laborer Apprentice
What made you want to become a laborer apprentice?
It looked like a good opportunity to learn about the trade unions and get not only work experience, but class experience as well. It is easiest for me to learn the logistics of a task before going hands-on in the field.

To you, what is the most interesting thing you’ve learn or done so far in your apprenticeship?
Most of my prior non-union construction jobs were focused on external construction. Learning about building demolition and reconstruction has been a great opportunity to learn basic skills on the construction of internal projects.

If you could pick one safety tip or piece of advice to share with someone new to construction and new to Vogel Bros., what would you tell them?
Keep the work area clean. Maintaining cleanliness and organization can help identify safety hazards that would otherwise not stand out so well in a cluttered job site. Cleanliness also helps in keeping you focused on the job at hand without worrying about clutter getting in the way.

What do you like best so far about working for Vogel Bros.?
My co-workers have been a big highlight of the experience so far. Everyone is nice, polite and reasonable. I also appreciate the opportunities to be moved to different job sites and be faced with different types of work, depending on how far along the job is. It has kept me from feeling like every task I do is mundane and repetitive.

If you or someone you know might be interested in learning more about apprenticeships and the opportunities that exist in construction, contact the Florida or Wisconsin office (respectively).