A big theme that we’ve been following recently is education and job opportunities for teenagers. Younger people have the opportunity to try lots of things, take chances, and uncover their real passions in life.

Today, we’re taking a look at the field of commercial roofing. It’s not the same as putting shingles on a house. A roofer could very well spend some time laying shingles, but they also deal with flat roofs, particularly when they’re working on the commercial side of things.

Experience and Age Requirements for Working as a Roofer?

Different parts of the world have their own labor boards that may dictate different age requirements for different types of jobs, but beyond that, you need to remember that employers are looking for people with experience.

This makes it difficult to break into a field when you’re still young, no matter how talented or eager or responsible you are. We’ve written extensively on the bias that younger workers can face in certain industries and in general, and that exists in the world of roofing sometimes, too.

There are safety precautions to keep in mind and having an employee that is irresponsible, not paying attention, and not following procedures doesn’t just put themselves in danger, but could put the rest of the crew in harm’s way.

The Rules Vary by Industry

In Canada, for instance, you need to be at least 18 years old to work in an underground mine, but only 16 if you’re working above-ground. The minimum age to work on a construction site is 16 in Canada, too, so Canadian kids who want a career in roofing are going to have to wait until they meet that age requirement, and the same goes for people living elsewhere

You can look for apprenticeship positions or courses that could be useful to help you get your foot in the door if you’re still below the age requirements. Just because you can’t be actively working on a job site, it doesn’t mean you can’t start building up your resume and ensuring that you’re ready to roll once the right birthday comes along

Be prepared to have some extra struggles as a young worker seeking a job like this. Not everyone on the crew will necessarily take kindly to someone so young joining the team, especially if you’re in the same role as them. On the other hand, there will be some amazing people who step up the task of acting as a role model and helping you along to get started in your career.

It’s not legal to discriminate against people based on age, but there are still ways that some companies manage to get around that, and it’s usually related to experience. Experience and age aren’t the same thing. It’s not okay to discriminate against a worker based on their age, but it is okay to not hire them based on a lack of experience for the position.

At the end of the day, if the commercial roofing business is a good fit for you, you’ll find a way in and if you work hard and do a good job, you’ll earn the respect of the people whose respect matters. 

  • Are you okay with heights, your legs don’t get shaky when you’re up high?
  • Are you good at working with your hands? 
  • Can you keep your composure in stressful situations?
  • Do you feel good after doing a good job at something, even if your hard work isn’t always acknowledged or appreciated? 
  • Can you handle a bit of banter here and there? (Like it or not, the construction world is still a little rough around the edges compared to some other working environments.) 
  • Do you like working outside, even in the hot sun?

Take a look at local job postings, see what they require in terms of experience, and don’t be afraid to reach out and apply even if you don’t check all of those boxes yet. If you’re too young, it’s still worth expressing your enthusiasm in this field because you never know what roles they may have available for you to get your foot in the door.

Mat Woods
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Mat Woods

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