Betty Cardenas

4th Year Apprentice Plumber/
Gasfitter Crew Lead

March 31, 2017

My name is Betty Cardenas, and I am from Penticton First Nation in British Columbia.

I found out about Trade Winds to Success (TWTS) from my employment counselor Lucille Daniels at Aboriginal Futures Career and Training Centre, here in Calgary. I joined the program because I wanted to start a career in the construction industry in a compulsory trade that would lead me to a red seal certificate.

At the time I applied for TWTS, I was working as a temporary worker as a general laborer for general contractors. It was a difficult for me to find steady work due to my lack of experience and training in the construction industry. I honestly did not know what to expect by going to TWTS, but it has been an eye-opening experience and prepared me in so many different ways.

Without this program I would not have been as versatile in the beginning of my career. They not only helped me get trained but also helped give me the confidence that I needed to take the next step in my career. Being a young female minority, most definitely has had its challenges. In this industry people initially doubt me and are hesitant about my abilities but I never let that hold me back. I work hard, learn new skills, and accomplish the goals that I have set for myself as a tradeswoman. Being a part of TWTS has helped me secure these goals.

I was able to learn beforehand how to identify fittings, valves, types of pipe (copper, steel, types of plastic ABS, PVC) which is all directly related to my scope of work. I also, had an advantage over all the other first years because of my knowledge that I learned from this program. I exceled quicker and was more sought out as an apprentice because of this and I would do it all over again, without hesitation.

They gave me academic preparation to write and pass the AIT Entrance Exam - Level 4, and training in a shop environment. I received all kinds of safety tickets, such as Fall Arrest, Elevated Work Platform, First Aid Training and CSTS which helped me build on my master resume, for the plumbing industry.

I met some other students from Trade Winds on different projects that I have been on and it brings me comfort to know that I am part of a network that goes beyond the classroom. And the staff at Trade Winds was amazing and so supportive through the whole process.

When I started TWTS, I did not have a steady job or a vehicle. Today I have a stable job with a good income and drive a 2018 vehicle and live in a beautiful home. Something I could not imagine happening for me at the age of 25.

Since finishing this program, I have gone on to help my brother also secure a job with Centurion Mechanical Ltd. He is now also indentured as an Alberta Plumbing Apprentice. Although we are not on the same projects, I have been told many times from our company management and owners that he is also an exceptional apprentice in the plumbing industry.

My next goal after obtaining my Red Seal Journeyman Ticket, become a foreman and then onto a Project Manager.

In all honesty I would not be where I am today if it were not for this amazing program. I am now a 4th year plumber and have been with the same company for 3 years. Not only have I exceled through my apprenticeship, but I have exceled with my company as well. In my 3rd year, I successfully started running crews as the crew lead. I am still currently working for Centurion mechanical as a 4th year Plumber/ Gasfitter apprentice/ crew lead.

A quote that comes to mind is as follow:

Life’s a garden, dig it ~ Joe Dirt

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