Press "Enter" to skip to content

#177: Cool Careers in the Trades – Sheet Metal Worker

There are plenty of careers out there for students who are interested in working with their hands and learning on the job rather than looking into colleges and getting a higher degree. The trade industries encompass a wide range of potential job paths. Some broad career categories within trade industries are mechanical trades, industrial trades, medical trades, and building trades. Mindy and Rishika spoke with John Tillotson, an instructor with Oregon Sheet Metal Institute, about his personal career path in the trades.

There are opportunities to become an apprentice and learn on the job for a few years before becoming a journeyperson in your chosen trade. In his own words, John says, “There’s a niche within every single trade for every single person. You get into the trade and you serve that apprenticeship and figure out what you like and what you don’t like, and gravitate towards what you like and what you’re good at (those tend to be the same things). And people continuously place you into higher and higher levels of responsibility, even after you become a journeyperson.” In this episode on cool careers, John talks about his experiences in carpentry and sheet metal, and encourages students interested in learning more about the trades to reach out to local trade unions and training centers to learn more.

John Tillotson is an instructor and coordinator at Oregon Sheet Metal Workers Local 16. He has built a career in the trades and now teaches others how to do it.