I was born/grew up in: Fort Frances (Rainy River First Nations), Ontario, Canada.
I now live in: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
I completed my training/education at: I enrolled in the Institute of Technical Trades where I obtained CWB tickets, 6G pipe-welding, TIG and MIG welding. In addition to this, I obtained my CNC programming certificate.
Do you self-identify as Indigenous?
Yes. I’m from the community of Rainy River First Nations/Manitou Rapids First Nations.
Describe what you do at work.
In the position of a welder/fitter, my main activities include viewing of blueprints, and fitting of pipes and other materials required in the industry of large-scale refrigeration (such as that used in the hockey arenas of the NHL). Technological tools such as three-dimensional AutoCAD, and blueprints enhance the outcome of the process. When it comes to specialized equipment, I often use a plasma cutter and a Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding machine. Problem solving is a big part of my work right from the very beginning of the process. For example, we have to make sure that materials being used are properly scaled to blueprint instructions. Once components are ready to be produced, we will discuss how the welded materials need to be positioned. This occurs with team members at daily morning meetings with engineers to ensure that all components align with the overall plan. All duties performed in this job would be more difficult or impossible without a background in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as these skills are essential in creating an individual who thinks logically and analyzes options before acting.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect peoples lives?
The career of welding and fitting is very relevant at this time due to the rise of technology and superstructures that connect the world. Any building not made of wood has been made with welding. Seeing the final product after lots of decision making and hard work is the most fulfilling part of the job. Welding is prevalent in almost everything – it is a technique used to manufacture everyday things used by the citizens of society. It is very fulfilling to see the products I helped manufacture on TV or being enjoyed by the public.
What motivates you in your career?
I get most excited at work by getting the opportunity to teach young apprentices about the career. I really enjoy sharing my vast experiences with the next generation of welders. The most interesting aspect of my career is getting to be involved in the process of manufacturing products that bring enjoyment to the general public. It’s a great feel when you get to see a connection between all of the steps in the process. I would say that the most enjoyable part of my job is having the opportunity to watch the way the end product of my work positively affects the daily lives of others through their interests (such as hockey, the Olympics, skiing, etc.). This career is right for me because I have always been an individual who is interested in various aspects of STEM and I feel that this is the best way for me to express that. Getting the chance to do what I enjoy daily is the most rewarding part of my career.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I had not initially expected to go into this career, however I am glad I did. My education consists of a high school diploma and completion of my Institute of Technical Trades program. My career has been relatively steady up until this point, and I have reached the point where I am ready to get started on my own business. I initially gained interest in this field through my strong liking of technology and mathematics at a young age. Interestingly enough, I chose this career because I wanted to be involved in something unique and therefore was not really influenced by anyone to make the decision to go into the field. The most difficult part when getting started with my career was making the decision to leave my family and friends in order to explore markets outside of the reserve where I had grown up. To be successful in this field, it is important to be in growing markets that appreciate careers of STEM. I overcame this challenge by gaining the approval and being encouraged by members of my community.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
To relax, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, it keeps me grounded. I am also involved in mentorship of members of the First Nations community through encouragement and consultation and recently volunteered as a hockey coach. For physical activity, I am a fan of and enjoy playing hockey, in addition to exercising at the gym.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
I would advise young people interested in a similar career to use their opportunities to explore what the world has to offer, and to continue pursuing their dreams. It is also important to never accept failure and to never give up until you exceed the expectations you had laid out for yourself.
Lets Talk Science is grateful to Skills Canada Ontario for connecting us with this individual.