Have you ever wanted to try out a new hobby? How about a new career? Makerspaces are a great way to test different skills and find one that's right for you.
Find a makerspace near you
Typically for a makerspace membership, you pay $50-$150 / month. It sounds expensive at first, but when you think about how much universities or trade schools cost, makerspaces are actually an inexpensive alternative to try a bunch of subjects quickly without needing to apply or commit to a career.
Most makerspaces have good student discounts and many have partnerships with community organizations and high schools to help young people gain exposure to hands-on crafts and and skills.
Try different crafts and hands-on skills
- You’ll be able to try out many different trades, from welding and woodworking to sign-making and LED lighting design.
- You won’t have to spend thousands of dollars on tools in order to get started. Most makerspaces even have their own tool libraries where you can borrow equipment for free or cheap.
- If you decide that a certain craft isn't for you, it's not the end of the world — there's always another one just around the corner!
Find a mentor
The best way to learn any skill is from someone who already knows how to do it. Makerspaces are filled with experienced craftsmen, and if you’re in a makerspace, you should be ready to ask them what they’re working on and offer your help. Even if you have no experience yet, just watching others work can teach you a lot about their processes and the tools themselves. It may feel like you're encroaching on their space by asking too many questions or sticking around longer than necessary, but don't be shy! The more time spent observing others in action at a makerspace is time well spent.
Build multifaceted art to decide what jobs you like
A makerspace allows you to build prototypes or art objects that require many skills across the trades. You can then choose which parts of the project you enjoy the most and decide later if it is a career path that interests you.
For example, if you choose to build a coffee table that includes electrical LEDs and a clear acrylic top that glows, this will give exposure to the basics of joinery and woodworking for furniture making, basic electronics prinicples, laser cutting for sign making, and basics mechanical design. If the job seems interesting, but perhaps not right for your personality type, there are many other jobs in those fields (The sales side of solar installation, or the marketing arm of small home services companies) where your creative side can shine through!
Dip a toe into the skilled trades.
Join a makerspace, and you can dip your toe into the skilled trades without committing to them. In most cases, membership at a makerspace will include access to workrooms and equipment that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive or inaccessible.
A craftsperson who works on their own or as part of a small studio might want to join a makerspace because they need access to specialized tools like laser cutters, 3D printers and woodworking equipment. A member can take advantage of these tools when they need them—but pay only for the time spent using them each month.*
For those who don't yet know what they want out of their careers but want to try out different roles first before committing, joining a makerspace is an excellent way of exploring different types of work environments as well as honing skills in specific crafts.
Find a hobby you love before committing to a career.
If you're not sure which trade to pursue, it's best to try a few different things before committing to one. The skills and practices of the skilled trades can be learned through mentorship programs, online courses, and even YouTube tutorials. You might even find that you have more than one passion—in which case, you'll have options!
In the meantime, consider joining a makerspace where you can learn more about making the things that interest you.
Makerspaces are a great way to try out new hobbies before committing to a career in the trades.
Makerspaces are a great way to try out new hobbies and see if they're a good fit for you. You can learn how to do something you've always wanted to learn, like woodworking, metalworking or sewing. You can get help and advice from experts in the field who will show you how things are done. Makerspaces also host classes where people with similar interests come together and share ideas about what they're working on.
If making isn't your thing, there are still plenty of benefits for joining a makerspace:
- Makerspaces offer access to tools that might otherwise be too expensive or difficult to get hold of (like 3D printers).
- Many makerspaces offer community outreach programs designed especially for youth groups such as Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. These programs allow young people to explore careers in skilled trades while having fun at the same time!
If you're looking to try out a new hobby, or just want to get better at the ones you already enjoy, makerspaces can be a great place to start. They offer access to tools in an environment that's safe and supportive, with people who want to help one another learn what they need in order to succeed. But don't take our word for it! Get out and visit your local makerspace today!