Shipyard Labourer


Trades helpers and labourers assist other skilled trades in the performance of some of their tasks. This includes all trades – mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, electrical workers, welders, and many more. Labourers, as the name indicates, spend the bulk of their time performing moderate physical labour on-site or in a workshop setting. 

Consider labourers as trades assistants who can do almost any physical task, including loading, unloading, erecting, dismantling, cleaning, maintaining, and tending to machinery and other shipyard and vessel fixtures. Given the number of trades and skill sets this occupation appeals to, the tasks of a labourer typically do not stay the same from day to day. 

  • Load and unload construction materials as well as relocate various materials around shipyards.
  • Erect and dismantle concrete forms, scaffolding, ramps, catwalks, shoring and barricades required on shipbuilding and ship repair sites.
  • Remove and clean up rubble, debris and spills that occur during the shipbuilding and repair process.
  • Perform general maintenance on hoists and other equipment.
  • Perform labour, maintenance and trades assistance activities as directed.
  • You enjoy physical labour and different tasks and duties from day to day.
  • You are keen to work with a variety of different trades on a common project.
  • You consider yourself a good assistant/helper and are keen to learn as you go.
  • You are motivated to add shipyard work experience and develop connections to obtain to a future apprenticeship career in the shipbuilding and repair industry.
  • You are someone who knows you want to get into trades but doesn’t really know where to begin.


It is natural for workers to spend an entire career as a shipyard labourer, however, many start their careers as shipyard labourers and then move on to a specific trade within the shipbuilding and ship repair industry. Many skilled trades who have earned a certificate of qualification get their start in shipbuilding and ship repair as a shipyard labourer prior to being accepted into an apprenticeship program. Knowledge and competencies for the shipyard labourer are achieved through targeted training courses and experience on the job.

Discuss possible career steps with your school counsellor, career counsellor, or a union hall representative and consider high school trades programs and post-secondary pre-apprenticeship programs as a great place to start learning about the trades.


Currently, there are no defined academic requirements for someone to be eligible to become a labourer. Some experience as a general construction labourer may be required for construction trade helpers. 

ITABC offers an occupational certificate for experienced (4000 hours) shipyard labourers. This credential can be obtained through completing an assessment process offered at IMTARC. Safety courses and certain certifications may be required, depending on the industry.