Cora-Lea Findlay

First Year Electrician

April 2018

Cora-Lea Findlay

I’m a first year Electrician, though I originally wanted to be a carpenter! I had taken and completed a pre-trades program for women (before Trade Winds) thinking that this was all I needed to get that job and make that money! But I couldn’t find anyone to hire me – not having a vehicle or license made it difficult, especially being as ‘green’ as I was at the time. A few years later, I decided to go back for more pre-trades training, but this time with the Trade Winds to Success Training Society.

I went through the program with the help of instructor Ben Hosker (fantastic instructor). I passed the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training entrance exam and went on to complete the hands-on training with Local Union 424 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The union instructor, “Brutal” Bruce (helluva guy), got me and a couple other classmates jobs with local electrical companies. He chose the top students, plus me (because he’s just an awesome guy).

From the start of my pre-apprenticeship to where I am now, I’ve had a huge amount of support from such an amazing Staff at Trade Winds to Success, Oteenow Employment and Training Society, and the Local Union 424. They have all been with me every step of the way: You name it; they’ve helped me get here. Throughout my struggles during my first year of apprenticeship, they’ve always had my back. When I was going through NAIT, taking my first year and struggling, Sherri happened to know and reached out. She superwomaned her way in and saved the day for sure! Thank you, Sherri, for graciously being with my every step of the way (And yes, I will one day bring you spaghetti!)

It’s been a long road and it was filled with many battles. Pay attention to everything your journeyman is doing, regardless of what they’re doing. They do what they do for a reason, and they expect you to pay attention: they’re not always just going to tell you. There are still some old-school journeymen out there but that can work in your favour if you work hard, stay determined, have a good attitude, and do your best with what you’re asked. Your first year will be determined by you with the skills and abilities you show your journeyman. Be on time. Show up every day. We all have stuff going on, every one of us. Unless it’s an emergency, do not miss work. Being in the trades is not easy sometimes depending on the types of experiences you’re having but stay focused. You’re going to mess up, sometimes all day long. Just learn from those mistakes. Don’t give up!