Rope access careers open up a world of exciting opportunities across various industries. Whether it's maintaining towering skyscrapers, inspecting bridges, or tackling construction projects in remote areas, these roles require a unique blend of technical know-how, physical prowess, and a talent for innovative problem-solving.
Before signing up for a rope access training course, many people wonder what jobs they can get after their training. This blog post aims to give you an idea of what type of jobs you can potentially secure in the field of rope access.
1) Understanding what a Rope Technician is:
What is a Rope Tech?
Let's get philosophical and ask the age old question, "Who am I?"
As a certified rope technician, you are now an individual that knows how to gain access to a work location. There are many sites and locations that require someone that can get to a location to either repair, or provide a service there, but the rope technician is the person that can GET to the location.
Once at the work location, you are also someone that provides a service there - you can be a welder, pipefitter, inspector, electrician, carpenter, painter, cleaner - but all these trades may require another certification or previous experience for you to provide that service.
If you are providing a service at your work location, you are both a rope technician, and also someone that provides a service at that location. A Rope technician that is supervising a team of rope techs is there to ensure the safety of rope technicians.
So, the types of jobs that are available to you will greatly rely on the skill set and experience you possess when it comes to providing a service.
The following section showcases the diverse range of services that rope access technicians are often sought after to perform and what education and training is required.
2) Industries that need Rope Technicians:
High Rise Maintenance: Window cleaning, power washing, painting, dryer duct installations.
Experience: Many companies are willing to train these services on the job. So, you can get a job in high rise maintenance if you don't have a lot of maintenance experience.
Building Inspections: Building envelope inspections. Some Engineering companies offering building envelope inspections will use rope access.
Experience: You will need to get an engineering degree for this.
Oil and Gas/Industrial Facilities: Repair and maintenance of industrial facilities requires a diverse range of mechanical trades. Alongside the essential skills of rope technicians, professionals such as pipefitters, insulators, electricians, welders, and NDE inspectors play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation of these facilities.
Pipefitters are responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining the intricate network of pipes that transport oil and gas within the facility. Insulators, on the other hand, specialize in thermal insulation. They apply various materials to pipes, tanks, and equipment to control temperature and minimize energy loss.
Electricians are responsible for the electrical systems within the facility. They install, repair, and maintain wiring, lighting, and control systems. Welders play a vital role in the repair and maintenance of industrial facilities by joining metal components using various welding techniques. They are responsible for ensuring the structural integrity of equipment and pipelines, as well as performing repairs when necessary.
NDE (Non-Destructive Evaluation) inspectors are trained professionals who use specialized techniques to assess the integrity of materials and structures without causing damage. They play a crucial role in identifying any defects or weaknesses in the facility's equipment and infrastructure, ensuring that necessary repairs are carried out to maintain safety and efficiency.
Experience: These trades necessitate further educational programs at specialized trade institutions. Moreover, they necessitate the accumulation of logged hours in order to progress in the field.
Energy Sectors/Civil Industries: Wind farms, power plants, turbines, dams, and bridges all require regular maintenance to ensure their optimal functioning. These structures are essential for various industries, and skilled technicians with mechanical and construction expertise are needed to carry out repair services. Technicians in this field must possess a certain level of experience and proficiency in these skills to effectively maintain and uphold the integrity of these structures.
Experience: General competency in construction skills are required. This can be achieve through means of past experience and training.
Geotechnical Industries: This industry uses rope access techniques for a variety of tasks to carry out inspections, install monitoring equipment, and perform geotechnical testing. They may be involved in drilling and sampling activities, installing instrumentation for monitoring ground movements, and evaluating the stability of slopes or foundations. Additionally, geotechnical technicians with rope access skills are in demand for projects involving landslide remediation, rockfall protection, and slope stabilization.
Experience: Work experience is required. Rope access techniques aren't always used and required so getting a job with a Geo technical company will probably involve other work outside of rope access.
Telecommunications: Installation, maintenance, repairs on telecommunication towers. Similar to the high rise maintenance industry, new technicians may be able to find employers who will train these services on the job. Or, additional training is more minimal then getting a trade. Work on telecommunication towers don't always involve rope access techniques though.
Film/Media: Working in the film industry offers a wide range of exciting opportunities, including rigging equipment, working on sets, performing stunt work, and even getting involved in construction projects. However, breaking into the film industry isn't as simple as attending school or completing a traditional training program. It requires a unique combination of skills, experience, and networking to find success in this dynamic field. Rope access techniques aren't always employed but many people who work in film and tv rigging departments will take the rope access course for added knowledge.
What about Rescue? While Rope Access provides valuable knowledge on rope usage, its primary focus is on work positioning rather than rope rescue. Rope rescue involves a wide range of scenarios and outcomes, and falls under the guidelines of NFPA, which specifically address rescue situations that are distinct from work positioning. These guidelines consider and prioritize different scenarios that do not directly relate to the purpose of rope access in the workplace.
3) Where Can I find Work?
Let's take a closer look at the opportunities available in British Columbia (BC) and Alberta (AB), where Pacific Ropes operates. In the bustling metropolitan areas of BC, you'll discover a wealth of prospects in the high rise maintenance industry, as well as civil and construction work. Pacific Ropes is dedicated to serving the civil and industrial sectors, providing exceptional mechanical and construction services in challenging locations.
In Alberta, the oil and gas industry takes center stage when it comes to utilizing rope access. You will need a trade skill in order to open up your opportunities for work in Alberta.
If you're not sure where to start, I would recommend taking a look at all the potential rope access jobs in the section above and start with what you think will fit your experience, skill set, and interest. From there, do your research and find the companies that are providing those services using rope access. Then, reach out to their recruitment department to get a good idea of what they are looking for when hiring rope technicians. Once you have a good idea, then the next step is to create a plan on what you need in order to meet the requirements of the job you want. Is it extra training? Do you need to work for a company that doesn't do rope access in order to get more experience in a particular skill set?
4) How do I get experience so I can do what I want?
This depends on what industry and service you think will suit your goals and current experience. If you have little experience and knowledge, then you may need to focus on the educational component and find out what training you need to get started. From there, you may need to work for a variety of different companies to gain the practical experience and progression. Even if you can't get a rope access job right away, any experience you gain will only take you one step closer to your dream rope access job.
Don't shy away from networking and reaching out to companies you want to work with. Even if you don't have the qualifications now, it doesn't mean you can't start a conversation or relationship with your future employer!
Pacific Ropes hosts a Job Fair every winter and summer seasons to help connect companies and job hunters all under one roof! We support the rope tech community, and recognize the importance of mitigating the challenges that come to finding reliable job opportunities. Hosting companies that are looking to hire is our way of ensuring the community is always thriving.
If you'd like to come to the FREE Job Fair event, meet potential employers, and to get an understanding of Rope Tech Opportunities, come out to our next event on February 15th, 2024 from 5-7pm!! Just RSVP with the link below!