Workforce Profiles look at the people behind Workforce WindsorEssex’s 120+ In-Demand Jobs. Each week, we talk to a different professional for an inside look into their work.

This month we held a press conference at LiUNA!625 announcing our latest set of Skilled Trades Projects, and were fortunate enough to interview a few Skilled Trades Trainees while we visited.

More about Liuna625:
“LiUNA!625 Members are a powerhouse in the construction industry, building communities, literally, from the ground up. We are well-trained, highly skilled Construction Craft Workers providing a comprehensive range of services to our signatory contractors representing almost every sector of the industry. LiUNA!625 builds better communities, better jobs, better careers, better security.”

We spoke with Cory Smith, a Concrete Finisher who is currently in training at LiUNA!625, and works at John Harris Concrete. We asked him about his experience in a career as a Concrete Finisher so far, and about his training.

You can learn more about Concrete Finishers through our detailed Career Profiles.

What is an average day as a concrete finisher?

I work for John Harris Concrete- I’ve worked for them for 2 years- and what we’re doing here today at LiUNA!625 is pretty well what I do day in and day out- pour, form and finish concrete. We go to the site, prep the site to pour concrete, build the sub-grade, form up our forms, pour the concrete and then we give a finish to concrete surfaces using hand and power tools. If needed, we install fixtures in freshly poured concrete. We also apply compounds to make it weather resistant and long lasting.

What are you learning in your training?

I’m currently being trained as a cement finisher. I’ts a Red Seal program, its a 5 week course right now, for Level 1. So we just formed up the side walk, and we’re pouring the cement, and learning how to finish it. Some workers here are edging, and some are running the floats, or forming up and finishing a curb.

What got you interested in working with concrete?

When I was in high school I didn’t think I’d end up doing this, but then I just got into doing it, and it found me really. I was a carpenter originally- but I was always doing concrete just here and there. I was drawn to it, I really enjoy it. Then I joined with Liuna and I’m learning even more from this new program.

What is your favourite part of the job?

Walking away after its finished and seeing the finished product and your hard work. like coming back the next day after its dried to strip the finished forums forms and knowing its going to be there for a lifetime, and I was a part of that.

Is there a project that you are particularly proud of?

We did all the concrete work at an A&W out in Wallaceburg, that was a bigger project, and a fun one, I enjoyed that one.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

What’s most challenging is knowing when to start the finishing process. When to get on the concrete and actually give a finish to it, and make lasting impression on it – like with a broom finish. It’s all about timing.

What do you think makes this an in-demand job?

I think its really in-demand, because concrete is everywhere. Knowing how to do it properly will set you up for a lifetime of work.

Do you have any advice for someone just starting out in the field?

My advice would just be to work hard, and you’ll get places.

I’d say learn the basics like how to use a saw, and a float, and being able to picture the end result. It’s much easier to get a great end result if you can picture it before hand, and then plan your steps.

What has your experience been like at LiUNA?

I like it a lot, we have great instructors, and its really great to be out here in the field and working hands-on instead of in a classroom.

All opinions and statements in the blog post are the opinions and statements of the interviewee.

You can learn even more about Concrete Finishers through our detailed Career Profiles.

Do you work in a skilled trades position? Are you willing to be interviewed for a Workforce Profile?
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Are you a female working in the trades or hoping to? Looking for some advice from Women in the trade, or looking to mentor young girls? Join our Facebook Group: Windsor-Essex Women in Skilled Trades to get tips for the trades, advice, and answers to all the questions you’ve always wanted to ask!