By , May 4, 2009

Testimonials from Apprenticeship Students

“I think Secondary School Apprenticeship is awesome. It has given me a great opportunity to begin working towards my future goals. I plan to go to university and my trade will support me in reaching this goal by providing me with a good income doing what I love.”  ~  Nicole Wiebe, Cosmetology Apprentice

“Secondary School Apprenticeship is the only reason I am still in school and graduating. The credits given for this program inspired me to continue in school and work towards my career goal. I will be completing my certification in painting as well a certification in industrial coating. I plant to have a successful business specializing in tank coatings.”  ~  Kyle McCrae, Painting and Decorating Apprentice

“My placement at Dunvegan Gardens was very beneficial to my future. Because I’ve been an apprenticeship, I already have a beginning, whereas many graduates are still trying to figure out what they want to do. I am very excited about the career path I have chosen and all the places I could go with it.” ~ Ruth Jutzler, Horticulture Apprentice

 “My focus for the future is to finish my apprenticeship and get as much experience as I can. I have a good idea of where I will end up. Even if I decide I want to do something else and my plans change, it will be nice to have a trade behind me.” ~  Mike Bitner, Plumbing Apprentice.

 “The real learning this year has been through my apprenticeship. Certification in instrumentation is the beginning of my career path. I plan to get my journeyman certification in instrumentation and also get my electrical certification. Hopefully, one day, I will set up a business of my own.”  Matt Turner, Instrumentation Apprentice


Joan Friesen, a respected Industrial Electrician with Dalco Instrument and Measurement Services, has this to say about her rewarding career:

How did you become an electrician?

I came to the north like everybody else to make money and I figured I should make the same as all the guys. I had several jobs before I came here. I had a ticket as a parts journey person and a two year Business Administration diploma. I had a long time friend who happened to be the Area Manager at Pyramid Electric at the time. He knew my work ethics, my maturity level and determination. He was confident I would show up on time and sober, so he hired me as an electrical apprentice.

How was it to be an apprentice?

A friend can help you get a job, but he can’t keep it for you. You have to prove yourself. I had been away from school for a few years, so I struggled with the math during the technical training. The electrical code becomes one of your main tools and your bible. It is not written in everyday language, so you need good comprehension skills. There is a real physical part to the job, pulling heavy cables and lifting equipment modules and motors. As an apprentice, you can’t be afraid to ask questions and must be prepared to have someone telling you what to do and looking over your shoulder till you have demonstrated what you are capable of. You will then be given more and more challenging things to do. You have to continually try to improve your skills both hands on and technical. The first few years, I was on call a lot. You have to be ready to roll.

What do you like best about being an electrician?

I am really glad I became an electrician. Not only I earn a decent wage, but it is very challenging. You are doing varied type of work. Right now, I am trying to get more into the computer end of the trade with automated control programming, diagnosing and installing. It’s awesome working outside; I see tons of wild life. Once you become a journey person, you have people under your direction doing a lot of the physical work and you run the job. I am now an owner operator with my own truck. With my experience and the company I presently work for, my job is pretty well Monday to Friday. The hours can still be pretty long, but I can bank my overtime and take time off when it is less busy.

What are the advantages for a woman to be a trades person?

You develop a really good sense of self-esteem knowing you can provide a decent level of income and support yourself. You have a marketable skill as a technician and you can take that skill anywhere and find work. You can also use those skills in other areas if you decide to change careers.

As a woman, never presume because there are few women in the trades that it is not for you. Find out what it’s really like. There are many aspects of the trade that can fit your specific abilities and skills. Exposure to the trades during high school, handling hand and power tools all help– anything to demonstrate you have mechanical aptitude and that you can follow instructions.

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