What does a tiler do?
A tiler's hours are generally 7am to 3pm. Peter explains that throughout the day he "sets out the area to tile, cuts the tiles, and lays tiles." He says, "When you're finished laying the tiles you spread glue and sometimes sand and cement."
What sort of skills and qualities do you need?
"Like most jobs in the building industry, you need reasonable hand-eye coordination and you need to have good eyesight," says Peter. It's also important to have a feeling for space. "For setting out tiles it's very helpful to be able to look at a space and see how it's going to work. You don't have to have it, but it's a lot easier if you can walk into a room, look at it and be able to say, 'alright, let's start here.' It's just a lot easier than measuring it all out."
How did you become a tiler?
"There was just the opportunity. I was working in the building industry as a carpenter and a labourer. I knew some tilers, and they needed someone," says Peter. He started tiling when he was 28 and didn't complete an apprenticeship. "It was all on-the-job training."
What are some of the pros and cons of the job?
"You can work in any weather, not like a bricklayer or a carpenter, and as far as the building industry goes it's not that heavy a job. The money is good and you can always find employment.
"The bad stuff is general building industry stuff; heavy lifting, cutting things, you're in a lot of dust all the time, but apart from that it's not too bad."
What are the people you work with like?
As a tiler Peter says you have a diverse group of people to work with. "You have dealings with everyone - from the owner, the builder, the architect, and the other trades. You have to try and sort out times and space with the other trades, so you're not holding up anyone. We all have to work in the same space, and it's sort of a cooperative venture. We do get direction from the builder and the architect, but the rest of the time it's just trying to sort it out, amongst the rest of us, who's doing what when."
What are your career highlights?
Peter is proud of his day-to-day achievements on the job. He says, "I think the thing is you can get a lot of personal satisfaction out of it, you can look at it and say 'this is good and I did that.'" It's not paper shuffling; there is an end product and you actually create something. Sometimes it can be boring, but sometimes it can be a lot of fun."
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