There are many pathways that an apprenticeship can lead you to success! We've collected stories and interviews with apprentices who have found passion and success in their careers. Check out their journeys below! If you want to share your story or that of someone you know, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tyler registered as a Motorcycle Mechanic apprentice in 2015 with Trev Deeley Motorcycles in Vancouver. After hearing about Tyler from his instructor at BCIT, we were excited to talk to him and learn a bit more about his journey as an apprentice.
Q: How did you find out about the trades? What aspects made you consider the trades for a career?
A: I’ve always been working with my hands trying to build or fix things. So when I got into high school I signed up for as many shop classes as possible. It turns out I would do much better in those classes than the majority of the academic classes.
Q: How did you get started in the trades?
A: I actually bounced around quite a few trades before I found myself in the Motorcycle industry. I’ve been in automotive mechanics, I started my Electrical apprenticeship, I’ve worked as an arborist. I’d like to think I did well at them all but I’ve had 11 reconstructive surgeries on my dominant elbow that became a bit of an obstacle. I had been building a Harley with one of my friends for a year or so and fell in love. I was riding and wrenching for people so much that eventually someone asked me why I wasn’t pursuing it as an actual career. That question got the ball rolling and here I am.
Q: What do you like about your current job and where do you see it taking you?
A: I absolutely love my current job and everything it entails. I enjoy all motorcycles but my heart and soul lie with Harley Davidson so it makes work that much better. There are multiple levels of being a Harley Tech and my eye is on the top! Becoming a Harley Master Technician. I plan to be working on them forever so I couldn’t imagine getting a better knowledge of the brand than from the brand itself.
Q: Have you had a mentor or someone instrumental during your journey through the trades?
A: Yes, I’ve had a few guys that have been instrumental in my trade career. From my own level to Journeymen. It seems like if your willing to listen and learn there are plenty of guys willing to share their tricks of the trade!
Q: What is your favourite project that you have worked on?
A: It’s a toss up between my own bike and a bike I put together for TDMC Customs. The new custom branch of Trev Deeley’s that allow people to buy custom built bikes straight off the floor. Until I find myself a golden Knucklehead though.
Q: Do you use the skills and knowledge gained from the trades in your everyday life?
A: I use it more than anything! I’m always working on something and the things I’ve learnt seem to have limitless applications.
Jordan Atlin came to ITA with no confidence and little education. She was living in a rural First Nations community, feeling like she lacked direction in life and with her career. Her uncle convinced her to take up a trade. Today, Jordan is a Level C Welder living out her “dream job.” She credits her mentor, Merv Kube, with helping her build skills as well as the ‘tough skin’ needed to overcome discrimination in an ‘old boys club.’
She encourages all women who are currently looking for a better life and a purpose to connect with ITA. ITA’s Women in Trades Training (WITT) program supports women to turn a trade into a career. As Jordan says, “Women (in the trades) are an untapped resource and any way that is encouraged should be supported.” Jordan is in the process of upgrading her certification to Level B and couldn’t be happier with the opportunities that a career in the trades has given her.
In 2016, 21-year-old ITA Youth Program graduate Kris Culshaw achieved his Red Seal status as a Construction Electrician, one of the top, in-demand construction trades in British Columbia—an incredible accomplishment. With technical training and academic smarts on his side, ITA Youth Programs helped give Kris a leg up towards achieving his career goals. “Even if you are not certain of the path you want to take, ITA Youth Programs have a huge impact on giving you a head start on your career,” says Kris. “By the time I graduated, I already had my first year of technical electrical training completed, along with lots of hands-on experience in the field and work-based hours that counted towards my apprenticeship.”
Jaymee Lynn is a Carpenter apprentice from Port Coquitlam who recently completed the Youth Train in Trades program at Terry Fox Secondary School—but she didn’t always know this was what she would end up doing. She spent her high school years taking any class that sparked her interest and eventually stumbled upon carpentry. It was her school career counselor who opened her eyes up to ITA Youth Programs. Now, at only 18-years-old, she has a full-time job that she loves upon graduation. “I was not only walking across the stage at my commencement with a high school diploma in my hands, but my first year of technical school was complete and I had a whole career ahead of me.”
As someone who loves working with her hands, Poi Yuk Lee decided against the traditional route of going to university and getting a bachelor degree. While she was researching future career options, she considered going into carpentry, which had always sparked her interest, and from there, she was introduced to steel stud framing—something she had never heard of before. “ITA’s Women in Trades Training program put me through school, helped me find a job, and got me all the tolls that I needed. I was ready to start my career.” In 2016, Poi Yuk achieved Red Seal status in her trade, and is now a journeyperson holding the position of foreman on site, something she has been working toward from the very beginning.