January 10, 2017
One call landed Clyde Adams in a new job, and in a trade.
The call was to the HR department at the Tsawwassen First Nations office: Clyde was returning home and looking for a job. The HR office often has the inside scoop on projects in the area looking for help. Clyde was referred to Bantrel, the contractor responsible for FortisBC’s Tilbury LNG Expansion project, and got hired to work in the office.
Shortly thereafter he had the opportunity to join Teamsters local 213 as an apprentice warehouseman, and has since worked his way up from a level four to level two apprentice.
“I had zero experience in my trade when I started, but I’ve had mentors walking me through everything”, says Adams, whose initial training included courses in the safe operation of the vehicles he drives. But he says nothing compares to the on-the-job safety training he’s getting from his co-workers. “You’re never alone if you ask for help here. Everyone looks out for each other.”
Being a warehouseman on the Tilbury LNG expansion project in Delta has Adams delivering a variety of building materials to other trades on site using a pickup truck, forklift or a telehandler— a lift truck with a boom that can reach out to 50 feet. Adams says, “If the material you’re moving is big enough that you can’t see past it, you must have a spotter. Teamwork is essential. You’re putting all your trust in that person.”
The notion that mentorship and safety are the keys to success on the job is echoed by Adams’ supervisor Travis Jones, who encourages his tradesmen to point out work practices that may be unsafe. “If my guys see someone doing something that could be unsafe, they’ll help them see it and suggest another way,” says Jones, who is a general foreman on the Tilbury Project.
One of 60 apprentices currently working on site, Clyde’s goal is to get his Red Seal, the Canadian standard of excellence for skilled trades. He says Bantrel is supporting him by allowing him time off to take courses every 500 hours of work completed. “When it’s time to take a course, you’re not only allowed to take time off, it’s encouraged—and you don’t lose your place on site,” says Adams. “Everyone wants you to advance.”
The Tilbury project has also supported 25 work experience/employment training programs. Among the students who have participated in the programs, 48 have been Tsawwassen First Nation members.