PCLer Chris Erbus shares his Skills Canada story
The Winnipeg-based superintendent
began his carpentry career with PCL in 2010, working his way up through his
apprenticeship and certifications in the Special
division. Today Chris can be found working on True
mixed-use development that will be built in the heart of downtown Winnipeg.
Chris (third left) and the other judges of the Skills
Chris judging at Skills Canada Manitoba 2015.
Back in college, when Chris was
approached by his carpentry instructor to compete in Skills Canada Manitoba, he
entered because it sounded like a fun opportunity to shine. Despite not yet
having real-world carpentry experience, Chris took home fourth place and
discovered the appeal of Skills Canada, the only national multitrade and
technology competition for students and apprentices. Every year, more than 500
high school and college students from across Canada participate in over 40
skilled trade and technology competitions.
The next time he had the
opportunity to compete, he jumped at the chance. “I knew it was a special
opportunity that was not offered to everyone.” Chris won first place at Skills
Canada Manitoba in 2012, qualifying him for the Skills Canada National
Competition (which he gladly missed for the birth of his first child).
After completing his
apprenticeship, Chris was asked by his college to volunteer as a judge at the
upcoming Skills Canada Manitoba competition. “Since then I have been involved
in judging the Provincials every year, have spoken at events, and have helped
judge the Skills Canada National Competition in Winnipeg last year.”
Competing in Skills gave Chris
the opportunity to apply his knowledge outside of the work environment. “The
test of your abilities under pressure to turn raw material into a finished
product in a short amount of time is an exciting experience.”
Judging the competition brought
even more benefits. “I enjoy watching the students and how each of them
approaches the challenge in a different way,” said Chris. “Since the students
are some of the best and brightest, and come from many different backgrounds of
carpentry, I find that I always learn something new from them.”
Chris recommends Skills Canada to
anyone who can get involved. “It is fun and has led to many great things for me
both personally and professionally.”
SUPPORTING THE FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY
As an official sponsor of Skills
Canada, PCL’s presence at the event encourages youth to discover rewarding
careers in the trades and technology industries.
Chris sees PCL’s involvement at
Skills Canada as a demonstration of support for education and trade excellence.
In return, PCL gets visibility to the top apprentices and high potential
individuals who will soon enter the workforce. This is important for PCL, as
“skilled workers are key to our success.”
So how can we find these skilled workers? “Mentorship and support,”
says Chris. “My advice is to take the time to build people up and show them you
have an interest in their development. It can be very motivational for young
people if they see that you notice their achievements and that you support
Chris believes that all PCLers
should take an interest in reaching out to the future of the industry through
events like Skills Canada. “We are owners, and recruiting the best is a big
part of the job.”
The 24th Skills Canada
(June 4–5) will
be held at the Edmonton Expo Centre.