I was born/grew up in: I have lived in Coalhurst, Alberta my entire life.
I now live in: I still live Coalhurst, Alberta.
I completed my training/education at: I completed the 4 year 40 week Sheet Metal worker program at SAIT polytechnic.
What I do at work
At work, I am responsible for installing ductwork according to plan that was set. This involves laying out and measuring fittings, doing material takeoffs and ordering material. I also service and repair ventilation fans, furnaces, rooftop ventilation heating and cooling units and fireplaces.
With the job I do, there is defiantly a wide range of tasks. One day I could be doing a small residential job and the next installing 30,000-pound units onto a roof. No matter the job, they always come with a challenge or a learning experience. Sometimes it could be a small problem such as trying to find a good location to put ductwork in a house so as not to mess with the plans of other tradespeople. At other times, it could be a bigger problem such as having to dig out the side of a slope in order to fit a crane in a tight space. STEM skills provide me with a knowledge and understanding of basic principles of most challenges that might arise on a job. These skills also help with critical thinking and problem solving.
Math is a very important skill in my trade. Every day we are laying out, measuring and planning. All this requires a good grasp of the fundamentals of math. It is also important to be able to work well with others because it is easier to solve problems with a group of skilled people rather than on you own. On a team, everyone brings different skills and ideas.
My career path is
I never exactly knew what I wanted to do for work when I was in high school. I started working in a Sheet Metal shop cleaning vans and organizing the shop. I started my apprenticeship working there and completed the registered apprentice program while I was in school. Immediately after high school, I went to SAIT to complete my technical training in Sheet Metal. 10 years later, I am still working in Sheet Metal and love it! Now, as a Journeyperson, I help train new Sheet Metal apprentices. It definitely wasn’t easy as there were obstacles that had to be overcome. There are always opportunities to learn from obstacles or mistakes that we encounter.
I am motivated by
For me, the most exciting moments at work are when I complete an install and everything looks good, works well, and makes the customer happy. I really enjoy my career because of the ever-changing problems and learning that I have daily. This career is perfect for me because it keeps me thinking and moving. I am never bored with what I do! Then at the end of a job or end of a day, I get to look back and take pride in what I did.
How I affect people’s lives
Sheet Metal workers are responsible for the indoor comfort and climate in buildings. We install heating and cooling systems in buildings such as schools and offices on a larger scale or homes on a much smaller scale. Heating in these buildings is important in below zero temperatures not only for the health of the occupants but also for the safety of building operations. We also work with ventilation systems to provide fresh air to buildings. This is especially important in areas where hazardous gasses are produced (e.g., welding and mechanic shops).
Outside of work I
If I’m not working I enjoy being out on the boat fishing, shooting, hunting or even hiking. I also do copper work making flowers, ornaments and other trinkets as a hobby.
My advice to others
When you start potentially looking for a career in trades remember most jobs aren’t just what you see at first. Do your research to see what branches into different more specialized industries you have. In the case of Sheet Metal, a person could potentially specialize service work, install work, custom metalwork, or supervision work. Also, make as many contacts as you can. You might know a lot and could have been through many different problems but one day you’ll probably run into something you’ve never seen. The best way to solve problems you don’t understand, or have never see before, is to use your connections and find someone that might know a solution.