When Cowichan Tribes member, Brad Thorne, first started gaining experience in construction, he had no idea that he was going to like the work so much. His first jobs saw him working in carpentry and gaining a variety of skills. When he mentioned to a foreman that he was interested in getting his ticket, the foreman told him to investigate careers in plumbing or electrical.
Fast forward to last June when he came across a WATT posting in a community newsletter and the rest is history.
Due to the impacts of the pandemic, Brad spent his first month of training online, doing lots of reading and completing certifications like First Aid and WHIMIS. He shares, “Some days were hard, but I pushed through to complete the online training. I’m a hands-on learner, so I had to discipline myself to do the computer work, but I did it!”
Then came the fun part, one month of hands-on instruction, learning to pull wire, bend pipe and other pre-apprenticeship skills that would help get him ready for work onsite.
Upon completion of WATT, Brad obtained employment with Houle Electric and has been with them ever since. He shares that everything is going well and so far, he has been able to work close to home in the Cowichan Valley.
“Seeing the entire build process from start to completion is exciting. I work side by side with so many crews – civil, plumbing, bricklayers, framers – up to six crews can be working side by side to achieve a common goal. There is a real sense of teamwork”
Looking to the future, he intends to get his Red Seal Endorsement and perhaps start his own company that introduces First Nations people to the opportunities in electrical.
He shares this advice for First Nations youth, “Just get started, within four years you can have a Red Seal Endorsement and be well on your way – you will be set for the rest of your lives!”
Find out more about the Workplace Alternative Trades Training initiative here: https://www.constructionfoundation.ca/watt/