I was born/grew up in: Bowmanville, ON
I now live in: Bowmanville, ON
I completed my training/education at: Sir Sanford Fleming College (Recreation and Leisure Studies). I then enrolled in an apprenticeship program in Heat and Frost Insulation. Eventually I completed an Adult Learning Certificate at Sir Sandford Fleming College.
Describe what you do at work.
My day to day work involves two key things. First, I instruct apprentices who are enrolled in the Heat and Frost Insulation program. In this role I’m using a lot of STEM learning, particularly geometry, algebra, and thermodynamics. All of these are important knowledge for the students to have before they do their work placements. I also teach blueprint reading and health and safety. The second part of my work day involves being a liaison person. I’m there to help the apprentices with any problems they have with their registrations and work placements. I also act as a liaison between the union and the contractors. I coordinate and troubleshoot any problems that arise through the apprenticeships. And I maintain the shop area in good working order.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people's lives?
My role at the Training Centre is very important to the apprentices. I run the system that provides them with the skills and knowledge that will help them get a good job and have a great quality of life. My role is also important to the customers and public who will have these apprentices work in their buildings. The program that I help provide ensures the apprentices are able to do their job to a high standard and in a safe manner.
Going even broader than that, I like to remind people that the Heat and Frost Insulation trade was green before it was fashionable to be green. The work we do helps reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that enter the environment because we help reduce the amount of energy required to heat or cool buildings and other structures.
What motivates you in your career?
One thing that I like about my career is that it keeps changing all the time. The industry constantly changes as new technology and techniques are developed. You have to keep up on all those changes. In my teaching role, I love to see the apprentices complete their program and to see how it sometimes changes their lives. Many of them go from minimum wage jobs where they can’t afford to leave their parent’s homes to a fulfilling career where they earn a good living which allows them to move out on their own, get married, and have families.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
When I completed high school I had no concrete plans for what to do. I was on the honor roll and it was assumed I would go to university or college. But all I wanted to do was be a professional wrestler (true!). But I didn’t have a plan for that either. At the last minute I enrolled in college and took one of the only programs that were still available: Recreation and Leisure Studies.
I enjoyed college but still had no plan for what to do with my degree. I worked at some low end jobs when my then girlfriend (now wife) heard about the insulation program and encouraged me to check it out. I did and enrolled in the apprenticeship program and then it all clicked in place. I loved the problem solving you had to do on every job. I loved the hands on aspect of the work. The extracurricular activities I did in school (student council and rugby team) gave me leadership skills and a good attitude that helped me be a good apprentice. I worked in the trade for a while and when the opportunity came to teach the program I took that and have loved it ever since!
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I engage in weight lifting and participate in cross fitness which is a core strength and conditioning program. I like to travel and spend time with my wife and kids. I like do-it-yourself projects. I volunteer with organizations like Skills Canada Ontario where I do presentations and programs that promote the skilled trades as a first choice career option for young people. I created a Facebook page where I share my story about how I got into the skills trades by accident and have enjoyed it ever since.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Don’t panic or be afraid if you don’t know what you want to do when you graduate. Realize that you are likely to change your career path; sometimes several times. Try to figure out what you really love to do and then try to find a career that lets you do this. If you like using your mind as well as working with your hands, check the skilled trades. There are over 200 different trades available in Canada; chances are you’ll find a career that you will enjoy.
Let’s Talk Science is grateful to Skills Canada Ontario for connecting us with this individual.