I went to high school in Barrie, and that’s where I got my first taste of machining. My shop teacher helped me get a co-op position at Barrie Welding.
From there, it felt natural to continue at Georgian, where I could do more hands-on learning and get more work experience. I did my Georgian co-ops at Barrie Welding as well, and was recently honoured with the Co-op Student of the Year Award for my work there. I think co-ops are so important because you can’t get an apprenticeship right off the bat – you need a foundation of experience and networks. Co-ops help you build that foundation.
By my second semester at Georgian, one of my instructors, Jurgen Hierholzer, thought I might be good enough for the Skills Ontario competition. I ended up qualifying for the national championships and now Skills Canada has selected me to head to WorldSkills competition in Brazil this August.
I’m really excited for the worlds. It’s kind of the skills Olympics – showcasing new talent in vocational training from over 70 countries. Jurgen will be going with me, but we won’t be able to talk during competition periods, so I really have to rely on my own skills to succeed. Right now, he’s helping me train and practice every week, until we leave.
Between training, I’m working part-time at PalCam, which is awesome. They have high-end multi axis CNC machines and we make injection moulds for big car parts. I’ve always been good at making things and I like seeing the end result. My end goal is to complete my four years of apprenticeship and become a licensed general machinist.