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Riley McLeod

First Year Carpenter

March 2019

Riley McLeod

My name is Riley McLeod from Fort McPherson, NWT. I am a 1st year apprentice Carpenter.

My passion for carpentry started when I had an opportunity to take a course in Nanaimo, BC. The course taught me little bit about working as a carpenter, ever since then I had a passion to be a carpenter.

Shortly after, I obtained a job working at the Inuvik hospital providing maintenance. It came to a point where I wanted more than just the job, I wanted a career. So, my girlfriend and I started looking for programs and courses I could take to further my career. Throughout our search my girlfriend came across the Trade Winds program and thought it was a good opportunity for me, I looked it over and saw that as well. It was a scary thought moving to Alberta for the program especially leaving friends and family. Regardless, with their support I was able to gain the courage to make the trip.

During the Trade Winds program we learned theory and gained hands on training, which gave me more confidence in my skills. I struggled with math and the fact I was so far from home, but with the support of the staff I was able to overcome these obstacles. Once I successfully completed the program, I obtained all my tools, PPE and safety tickets to enter the workforce. It wasn’t long after I got my first job. Through employment partnerships with industry, Trade Winds was able to help me secure a position with BIRD Construction.

Trade Winds has changed my life, I never thought I would be working out here in Alberta working for a great company like BIRD Construction. BIRD has been very supportive on my path to journeymanship. At first, I was a little scared because I have never worked in construction at this level. Nevertheless, BIRD has welcomed me with open arms. Everyone I work with is always willing to teach me. They even go as far as giving me tools to help me with my job. At first, I was scared to make a mistake, but they assured me its ok we all make mistakes that is how we learn. I have never seen so much safety in life, which is re-assuring to me knowing that the company takes so much pride in protecting their employees.

More and more my passion for carpentry grows. When I think of the word “carpentry” it is always different, it is never the same. I get to work with so many different materials. I also get the satisfaction of seeing each stage of the building process anticipating the finished product and knowing I was part of that.

It is still difficult being so far from home, but with the support of my family, friends, Trade Winds and BIRD it makes it easier. I know once I finish my journeyman ticket it will all be worth it.

If I were to give a message to any future students, all I would have to say is show up and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

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