I began my apprenticeship in carpentry at the age of 13. I am quickly approaching 35, and with that many years of experience under my belt, it may be time to talk about trade skills and actually have something worth saying on the subject. The majority of preppers I know are independent, do it yourselfers. But even then, some projects, at the scale of producing a home, a hunting shack, or even a tool shed can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. For reasons related to OPSEC, it may be best to design and build on your own, to keep information relating to your floor plan, hiding spots, etc off the books. It will also save you a considerable sum of money. The best resource i have discovered in my time as a carpenter, and probably the best resource available for individuals wanting to learn carpentry or any other trade is your local Union hall. For a relatively small monthly fee, and membership initiation, you will receive nearly free training from complete novice to the level of journeyman (expert) in any skills you wish to learn. This includes free training in the physical tasks of carpentry work like rough framing, to industry leading concepts relating to surveying. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_station Obviously other trades learn different skills entirely. (Total station). Being a member of a union does not mean you need to change your current career. (Although i would not mention having another job, especially if it is non union.) It is superior to a trade school, or folk school for obvious reasons. -its basically free -you will receive professional certification you can actually use, immediately for real projects. -your earnings as a union tradesmen, should you decide to pursue work, will be at or near the top earning positions in that field. Many projects are also so incredibly massive that the wasted materials are ripe for the picking if you ask. It is very unusual for any one to deny your request for unused building materials, unless of course they are already spoken for. This includes fixtures, rough materials like plywood, cabinets, etc. Some may have imperfections that are repairable, even un noticeable, but won't make it past the inspection of a architect, or project manager. There are a multitude of books and resources on the subject of construction, available at many building supply retailers, but also on the internet, of course. They are certainly worth the time and the study. They could be a important resource, before during, or after any social collapse. Speaking of social collapse, possessing knowledge and skills related to repair or construction of infrastructure could easily keep you and your loved ones fed and clothed, from your skills alone, without exhausting your larder. Union membership comes with a number of benefits aside from industry leading pay. I make an excellent wage, even after all of my dues, and medical coverage. My average weekly pay for 40 hours is about 1100$-1200$ that is after all the tax, the medical coverage, the contribution to my retirement, and training benefits. If i wish to go to the state of the art training facility located in las vegas nevada, and take a course in underwater welding in a real water training tank, i can do so at no cost to me. My flight, transportation and lodging are paid for by the union council of which i am a member. If i fail to complete the course and go AWOL i will be forced to pay for my return flight etc, but, even while i am taking a training course that cost me nothing, i can collect unemployment benefits the entire time, (more per week than most people earn actually working) allowing me to earn a substantial amount while my living needs are met completely by my membership! If you are in need of a career change, are young and deciding what to do for the future, or simply desire to be a more well rounded and knowledgeable prepper, becoming a union member could be a solution for you. Especially if you are young and trying to decide on a career path or education, i would recommend not becoming over burdened with student loan debt, and instead learn a trade first that will provide for your needs while you decide on the career path best for you. Nationally recognized safety, red cross First aid and other medical training is also provided.