VANCOUVER - Given his last name, it seemed like James Fiddler was destined for a life in the music industry. For a number of years, Fiddler was a professional musician working as a production manager for a company that produces guitars. When the company changed some of its operations, Fiddler decided it was a good time for a new career.
Like many British Columbians looking to build a new future, Fiddler wanted a profession that would provide steady employment. After consulting with workers from the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (accessfutures.com) (ACCESS), Fiddler decided a career in trades would be the answer and chose to enroll in the four-year Metal Fabrication program (bcit.ca) at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).
As a child growing up in Surrey, Fiddler loved the water and boating. His hope is to build on that early childhood fascination. He wants to complete the Metal Fabrication program so he can become part of B.C.’s shipbuilding industry.
He is now part of the first class of the Marine Fitter program.
The Marine Fitter program is reconnecting Fiddler with a strength he already has - the ability to work with his hands. “Guitars are cool,” he says. “But it’s something else to be working on something as huge and important as ships.”
Fiddler also understands and appreciates that BCIT’s Marine Fitter program is connecting students with the training they need to enter B.C.’s growing shipbuilding industry, which needs skilled workers. The federal government’s $8-billion investment in B.C.’s shipbuilding industry will lead to approximately 4,000 direct and in-direct jobs.
As well, the apprenticeship training model allows him to alternate between on-the-job, hands-on training with classroom work. “I’ve learned all these basics,” he says. “Now I can build on my practical experience.”
Fiddler admires BCIT’s instructors for the pride they take in their work and how they strive to help each student meet challenges and reach their full potential. Fiddler admits that the program is demanding, “You’ve got to want to do it,” he says. “It’s an intense workload. There are long days, followed by four hours of homework.”
Once Fiddler completes his training at BCIT in 2018, he will have the skills to navigate the opportunities the shipbuilding industry offers.
Through B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint (workbc.ca) , new mobile tools are available at WorkBC.ca making it easier for B.C. families, and students like Fiddler, to make the best possible career choices. My Blueprint Builder (workbc.ca) and Career Compass include skills training and funding sources, local job market information and career profiles.
The Marine Fitter program is an add-on for the Metal Fabrication and Boilermaker trades. Individuals can enter the program as apprentices, as described above, but ticketed tradespeople can also take the program and then take advantage of the opportunities in B.C.’s ship-building industry.
The Labour Market Partnership program as part of the BC Jobs Plan provided funding to the Marine Fitter program. The curriculum is the result of collaboration between BCIT’s School of Construction and the Environment, Seaspan, ACCESS, Camosun College and the Industry Training Authority.
For more information on B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, visit: http://www.workbc.ca/skills
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan, visit: bcjobsplan.ca