Are you thinking about starting a career in shopfitting? Well, first of all you need to understand what it takes to be a great shopfitter and what the job requires.
A shopfitter does more than just install shelves and assemble cabinets; they produce and install shop fronts and entire fitouts of not only shops, but also offices, hotels, restaurants, clubs, and even hospitals – practically any commercial business. Even residential homes; shopfitters are often able to use their cabinet making skills to create custom kitchens, bathrooms and lounge room areas. Shopfitters are also tasked to construct and install interior and exterior fittings for other buildings such as bars and banks.
Depending on your skills, know-how, and project specifications, your task may vary when you finally work as a shopfitter. You may work as a wood machinist, joiner, or metal fabricator in a workshop. You may also be tasked to select, mark out, and shape metals, plastics, wood, and even glass to produce components and fittings. You may also be responsible in providing an estimate of the whole project to the client. If you have the needed skills, you could also work on preparing scaled and full-size drawings of the contract or carry out installation work on the site.
Skills needed to start a career in shopfitting
Before you undertake a traineeship or apprenticeship with a shopfitting company, it’s important that you have the needed BASIC skills. Some of these are as follows:
- The ability to plan and organise work
- Carry out calculations and measurements
- The ability to read and interpret project specifications
- Handle construction materials
- In-depth knowledge on basic leveling procedures
- In-depth understanding of OHS procedures and policies
- Knowing how to use power tools and machinery
- Knowing how to install doors and windows
- The ability to effectively and safely cut materials including wood, glass, and metals
- The ability to fabricate shop front commercial entries and component fittings
Keep in mind, the skills listed above are only the basic skills needed to start an apprenticeship with a shopfitting company like Xtreme Shopfitting & Joinery. As you go on, you will eventually learn more complex skills like installing thermal and acoustic environmental protection systems and carrying out general demolition of minor building structures. The more skills you acquire, the higher your chances of getting hired by a company that can provide you with full time work.
How to acquire the skills needed?
Some people seeking a career in shopfitting have previous experience. They may have grown up watching their dads doing shopfitting projects, or have helped with basic carpentry work in one way or another. Others acquire skills through on-the-job training offered in vocational schools across Australia. Just like in any other endeavour, having somebody to train you isn’t enough to master any type of craft. It is important that you like what you’re doing and that shopfitting interests you.
What’s it like to work as a shopfitter?
I am sure this is something you’ve wondered while considering a career in shopfitting. Well, the basic working week is the same as other jobs – 40 hours, although overtime is often available especially if your company is handling time-sensitive projects. In some cases, shopfitters are asked to work through the night particularly when clients require minimal disruption to their business. Shopfitters are assigned on-site, indoors, or even in the workshop. While working on site involves travel, working in workshops means working with heavy machinery and metal fabricators.
When it comes to salary, the figures vary depending on your skills, experience, and qualifications. To give you an idea, an assembler or a shopfitter assigned to do general tasks receives an average of $4,000 per month. Meanwhile, joiners, painters, and assemblers receive $4,300 to $4,700 monthly.
When it comes to career opportunities, you’ll be happy to know that with enough experience, it is highly possible for you to move from shopfitter to supervisor. With further training, you could also be promoted to foreperson or contracts manager.
If you’re considering a career in shopfitting, it is important that you require the needed skills and qualifications in order to succeed in this endeavour. You also need to understand what the job requires and what you can get from it so you’ll get a clear picture of what to expect from a career in shopfitting. Being a shopfitter can be a great paying job especially if you’re determined to climb the ladder and become a contracts manager in the future. If you want to hear it from somebody who was once in your shoes, watch this highly educational video.
At Xtreme Shopfitting & Joinery, we hire only highly qualified and highly skilled shopfitters and joiners. We also support young Australians who are highly considering a career in this field. For enquiries and assistance please call (07) 5564 7525 – we are more than happy to assist in any way we can.