I was born/grew up in: I was born in Iqaluit, Nunavut (at the time NWT). My family moved to Atlin, BC when I was 6, and then I moved to Whitehorse, YT when I was in high school.
I now live in: Whitehorse, Yukon
I completed my training/education at: I completed my carpentry apprenticeship at Yukon College, in Whitehorse.
What I do at work
I am in charge of organizing construction projects for Solvest Inc.. Every solar panel project has an electrical component and a physical installation component. I have to coordinate labour and materials for the construction portion of the company’s jobs. I spend a lot of my day visiting various work sites. Some sites are those that the company is currently working on and some are in preparation for future jobs. Our company will typically build solar systems for 6-8 houses a week during the busy summer months. As a result, there are many site visits to do! While visiting job sites I get to meet all of our company clients. Often this is the best part of the job! All of our customers are super nice people who are excited to be getting a solar system installed. I enjoy getting to know them.
I spend about 40% of my day in the office going over scheduling of jobs, contacting clients and suppliers, and making sure the ongoing jobs are running smoothly. After I verify the design, I make sure the materials required either are in stock or ordered from a supplier. Quite often, I have to go up on roofs to check over dimensions that are in the array design. When I do this, there are safety protocols to follow. Mostly I will have to set up a safety anchor and wear a harness attached to it to help prevent an accidental fall. Sometimes I need to use specialized machinery to help me get up to a roof surface, such as a scissor or bucket lift.
I have had to learn quite a few computer-based skills, such as spreadsheets and inventory management programs. Luckily, I was able to learn these things on the job from co-workers or watching tutorial videos online. I am always using the essential skill of Math in order to measure surfaces and ensure all of the solar panels will fit as planned. I do most of my work is alone. However, I have to rely on information given to me by co-workers or other departments at Solvest, so I would say that my job is very team oriented.
My career path is
In high school, I assumed I would go to University and get some kind of degree. That was about all I had planned. School wasn’t difficult for me, but it was also uninspiring at times. As a result, I rarely tried hard to get good grades. In school, I stayed away from the trades courses, as I didn’t want to ‘waste’ time getting those credits rather than courses that looked better for University. I regret this now, and feel like my school did not do a great job at promoting a career path in trades. It often seemed like a person would only resort to trades if they weren’t smart enough for University.
I went to the University of Guelph for one year of a science degree and just barely passed my courses. I could have worked harder and got better grades, but I was not motivated to be there. After the first year, I took some time off to go travelling. I figured I would go back to University and finish my degree. When I was in high school, I had worked at carpentry jobs in the summer. I enjoyed the work and I usually earned more money than most of my friends. During my break from university, I started working on carpentry jobs again. In the end, I decided to do a carpentry apprenticeship instead. I’m glad I did!
I am motivated by
Tackling a new job every day or every few days means things do not get too repetitive at Solvest. We are constantly growing and taking on new types of work. We do this while still maintaining our core job, which is installing residential solar panels. As a result, there is enough familiarity to become very fast and efficient at the process. At the same time, each job is different enough to keep things interesting.
As well as this, my career so far has taken me on several trips to parts of Canada that I never thought I would be able to visit. For example, I have been to Haida Gwaii, in BC, Baffin Island, in NU, and other remote communities across the North.
Just seeing the company grow from 5 people to 25 has been personally rewarding. Everyone working at our company has the same energetic personality that makes them easy to get along with. I had no idea I would still be working in this job 5 years ago. That makes me excited for the next 5 years with Solvest will bring!
How I affect peoples’ lives
Seeing the results of my work is what I feel makes my career relevant. Seeing a design on paper, and then turning it into a solar system that produces usable electricity for hundreds of households in the Yukon is very satisfying. Our company is a part of creating a more energy sustainable future for our territory. The company has been growing every year since I started and I am proud to have been part of this growth.
Outside of work I
I relax by working on various carpentry projects at home or helping friends with their projects. Currently I am building my own house on a property outside of Whitehorse. I call it 'relaxing' as I do not have as much time on the tools at work anymore and sometimes I miss it. I try to get out biking as much as I can in all seasons. I used to enjoy playing soccer before having a few serious injuries.
My advice to others
Don't think that you need to follow a university path after high school just because you feel it is expected. Do what motivates you! Make sure you explore your options, especially before spending a lot of money on a degree.