Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as ¿building blocks¿ because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
This unit group included workers who cast and finish concrete products, operate machines to extrude, mould, press and bake clay products, and operate machines to cut and finish stone products. They are employed by concrete, clay and stone products manufacturing companies.
- May find that too much water has been added to a batch. They add amounts of dry material to adjust the consistency. (1)
- May find that a mix appears to be the wrong consistency, even though the computer readout does not indicate a problem. They investigate possible causes, such as water from wet rock causing too great an increase in the water volume in the mix. This kind of problem must be solved because products made with concrete containing too much water can fall apart. (2)
- May have the overhead hoist lose power. They look for causes, such as a blown fuse or too much exposure to concrete spray. They either fix the hoist themselves, call a mechanic or send it back to the construction rental firm. (2)
- May be asked to create a monument on a different type of stone than they have used in the past. They consider how the difference in colour and surface porosity will affect the end result. They look for examples of designs which others have used on this type of stone, and may do some preliminary tests before beginning the job. (3)
- May decide what tools to use to polish a substance such as marble. (1)
- May decide on the priority of the forms to be poured each day. (2)
- May decide when a batch of concrete is ready to be poured, based on its moisture and consistency. (2)
- May decide what supplies to order based on both present and upcoming jobs. (2)
- May decide whether to accept or reject a stone from a supplier which has streaks or a crumbly surface. If a faulty product is accepted, products could chip or erode and may have to be re-made. (2)
Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.
Job Task Planning and Organizing
Concrete, clay and stone forming operators receive general work orders from foremen or lead hands and then do their own planning of how to carry out the tasks within the scheduled deadlines. Their work follows a routine. They co-ordinate their tasks with crane operators and labourers who are responsible for moving and stowing raw materials and finished products. Interruptions in the rhythm of the work may take place due to the arrival of rush orders. In addition, operators may need to modify their work plan to respond to unanticipated problems, such as breakage of a piece of stone or marble they are working on or breakdown of machinery.
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember the volume of concrete required for each type of mould.
- Remember specifications and tolerances of products they make frequently, such as those for concrete pipes of various sizes.
- Memorize the amount of rebar reinforcement needed for different types of products.
- May look at computer screens to get information on a concrete mix in progress. (1)
- Refer to manuals for information on concrete technology. (2)
- May do library research to locate symbols, designs and patterns which customers may want carved on monuments. (3)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Concrete, clay and stone forming operators mainly work independently. They may work with a partner to strip forms or move heavy stones. They are part of a team which includes foremen, other operators, crane operators and labourers. Several operators may work on the same product at different times, with one making designs, another sandblasting and yet another finishing and polishing.
Concrete, clay and stone forming operators continue to learn through on-the-job training and experience and through reading manuals and trade magazines. They may take courses occasionally to learn more about concrete or about forklift operation.