A shuttering carpenter is a professional who specializes in creating formwork or shuttering, which are temporary structures used in the concrete pouring process. Shuttering refers to wooden boards or metal plates that are positioned and supported using rods and stakes known as falsework; once these boards or plates are in place, concrete can be poured within the created molds. The molds will hold the concrete in place as it sets, thereby creating a solid, smooth structure. A shuttering carpenter will usually be specially trained to work in this field.
A job candidate who wishes to become a shuttering carpenter will need to complete a high school education or equivalent qualification. Basic to moderate math skills will be required, as will basic communications skills. A shuttering carpenter is very likely to work as part of a team, so communications skills and an ability to work as part of a team are exceptionally important skills. Once the candidate graduates from high school, he or she can enroll in a vocational program at a technical school or community college to learn the necessary skills for the job. Otherwise, the candidate may choose to take an entry level position with a construction company and take part in job training or apprenticeship programs when they arise.
An apprenticeship program will allow the candidate to become a shuttering carpenter by working full time under the guidance and supervision of more experienced carpenters. This apprenticeship can last anywhere from one year to several years, and once the apprenticeship is complete, the shuttering carpenter will be qualified to work on job sites to create formwork for a variety of projects. The carpenter must have an ability to inspect the formwork for imperfections or potential problem spots before concrete is poured; once the concrete is poured into the molds, the carpenter will need to monitor the concrete and the formwork to ensure the process is going smoothly.
In many cases, a shuttering carpenter may be actively involved in the process of pouring the concrete into the created shuttering. This process may involve the use of various types of heavy machinery, so the carpenter may need to earn a commercial driver's license with the appropriate endorsements or certifications. Shuttering carpenters may also be required to renew certifications and licenses periodically throughout their careers to ensure they are current on new technology, processes, and safety techniques as outlined by governing bodies or by the employer.