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Re: at what age did you become an apprentice???? [Re: ITO] #166766 07/27/07 11:58 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
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sparkyinak Offline
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I was a month shy of 29 when I started. When I got out of the military when I was 21, factory work was quick money and more steady the apprenticeship. As much as I wanted to be an electrcian, my family came first. Years later, I was not happy with factory work. My wife came across an apprenticeship job with ok pay. I would have to take a big pay cut plus a cut in hours since I was working all the OT I wanted at the time. Between the layoffs and dealing with a tragedy in the family, it was a very hard road. In time we managed to make it through the hard times.

I agree with ITO that kids these days have little respect for the construction trades. Currently in Alaska, more people are leaving the trades faster than they can be replaced. Kids today do not want a hard, dirty job for little pay. They want a job playing computer games in an air conditioned office that has a skateboard ramp. That office will never get built without the qualified trades people. I recently read in a trade magazine that in the next seven years, there will be a need for 84,000 more electricians then there are available today. I do not think that number includes the losses through retirement and such.

Getting through an aprenticeship program is not an easy task however when you "pay your dues" it is a rewarding career that is always changing.


"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: at what age did you become an apprentice???? [Re: sparkyinak] #166797 07/28/07 08:47 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 193
G
GA76JW Offline
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I started in an apprenticeship with the LU and we had 180+ people at the orientation for 1st year. We are now currently ending our 4th year and we have a total of 29 people now. I guess they were right at orientation when they told us "look to your right, look to your left, there's a really good chance you won't see these people again"


"If common sense was common, everyone would have it"-not sure, someone here

Re: at what age did you become an apprentice???? [Re: sparkyinak] #166867 07/30/07 08:35 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,277
Trumpy Offline
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Originally Posted by sparkyinak


Kids today do not want a hard, dirty job for little pay. They want a job playing computer games in an air conditioned office that has a skateboard ramp. That office will never get built without the qualified trades people. I recently read in a trade magazine that in the next seven years, there will be a need for 84,000 more electricians then there are available today. I do not think that number includes the losses through retirement and such.

Getting through an aprenticeship program is not an easy task however when you "pay your dues" it is a rewarding career that is always changing.

sparkyinak,
Good post mate,
Oddly enough, there isn't a day goes by here in NZ where there isn't an ad on TV or the radio about getting yourself a degree in IT or Law or Business Studies and unfortunately for the trades here, the kids are falling for it hook, line and sinker.
Kids these days want to take the shortest path possible to the good money and with an education system here where there are no real fail marks given out, it makes me wonder just how good this "training" really is.
There has been a distinct lack of tradespeople here for years and it isn't going to just go away over night, other side of the coin though, you can't force people to work in a trade where they may not be suited to the work, that would just be stupidity.
Sparkyinak, sure we've all been through the hard times of the apprenticeship and that is what a lot of prospective apprentices look at, is the bad money and think that it is par for the course once you come out of your time.
Things got heaps better for me once I finished my time, I worked around quite a few other places, slowly building up experience in how other factories and processes work and that is the one thing I love about my chosen career, you are always picking up new skills and you never stop learning.
I would sooner be doing what I am than say, standing in a factory watching tins of food go past on a conveyor belt, any day!.

Re: at what age did you become an apprentice???? [Re: Trumpy] #167323 08/10/07 10:18 AM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
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DougW Offline
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One of my earliest memories is reaching inside a 2" x 3" hole to grab a piece of flex (Most likely Greenfield) for my Dad to "drop" an outlet into a wall.

Mom & Dad owned & rehabbed a 2-flat in the Uptown district of Chicago in the late 60's-early 70's. Dad did 95% of his own work. Before anybody jumps on the DIY wagon with torch in hand, Chicago required (and still does AFAIK) alll work to be inspected and performed to applicable codes. Homeowners were granted a little more largesse, but still had to "toe the line". I helped Dad with verous projects around our houses most of my life.

In High School (1980's) I joined Stage Crew, and since I had some electrical knowledge I sort of gravitated towards the lighting division. Ahh, the days of 1000w swivel spots and humming Variacs...

I college (late 80's) I "handymanned" for the school, and constructed an abomination of a dimmer box that was used for various stage productions. It was plywood and had six 1000w rotary dimmers and a handful of receptacles in the back... the dimmers were split so each set of three were supplied by their own cord.

Got hired by the Navy as a firefighter and we rehabbed the "day room" in the station. Got to help opn that job, ripping out knob & tube (built in the 40's) and replacing it with conduit.

Then I got hired by the City, and eventually I wound up purchasing a house (1995), and discovered that the wiring (mercifully encased in circa 1930's rigid conduit) was all the old rubber insulated linen covered type. Chased down all the boxes, split the circuits, tied new THHN/THWN to the old and went to the other end and yanked. (I finally found sconce boxes hidden beneath plaster two years ago and finally purged the house of the last of the antique wire) laugh

My Fire Chief heard that I "knew electrical" and hired me to wire his garage.

I think back now and wince - while it wasn't unsafe, it was far from the degree of competence I have now.

I ran a "handyman" business the would "assist homeowners in performing their own electrical work" wink thus barely skirting the license / permit requirements. Luckily, before I started, I read up on what Codes were in force in the City, and complied with them.

As I told a customer who was complaining about it once "I might get busted for doing electrical work without a license, but I won't get cited for doing unsafe or not-to-Code work".

The AHJ knew what I was doing, and also knew I was working towards getting licensed; he told me once that my work was better than some "old salts" who'd held tickets for 30 years, since they were still working off of 1960's era Code.

Eventually worked for several local EC's, and took the Education Direct Electrician's course. The combo of the certificate and work experience allowed me to challenge the EC license exam.

Re: at what age did you become an apprentice???? [Re: DougW] #167324 08/10/07 10:41 AM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 348
I
ITO Offline
Member
I probably went through 30 apprentices in the last year, and only 2 have stayed. Both farm boys, with thick accents and beat up farm trucks, and both go home and work the fields at night with their parents. I guess that says a lot about who we are as a culture.


101° Rx = + /_\
Re: at what age did you become an apprentice???? [Re: DougW] #167363 08/10/07 07:25 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,277
Trumpy Offline
Member
Quote
I think back now and wince - while it wasn't unsafe, it was far from the degree of competence I have now.

Hehe,
I would imagine there wouldn't be a single guy here, that could disagree with that statement!. grin
There are some jobs that I went back and fixed free of charge some years later, not serious things, but it's the old I know they are there thing, I like sleeping at night.

Re: at what age did you become an apprentice???? [Re: Trumpy] #167364 08/10/07 07:29 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 69
waymag Offline
Member
Trumpy is still an apprentice

Re: at what age did you become an apprentice???? [Re: waymag] #167373 08/10/07 10:05 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,277
Trumpy Offline
Member
Originally Posted by waymag
Trumpy is still an apprentice

And what brings you to that conclusion, Wayne?.

Re: at what age did you become an apprentice???? [Re: Trumpy] #167375 08/10/07 11:23 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
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sparkyinak Offline
Member
I'm falling behind. I've been on the road the last few weeks and I could not think of the name of the website to look for it. Oui Vey! I saw a T-shirt that said, "When I grow up, I want to be an electrician.":D

All kidding aside, It is hard to find good help and it is only getting harder. If you have the ambition, mechanical aplititude, and are willing to pay the dues, go for it. You ambition is something that is lagging in many others.

Remember safety first, safety always. Find a reputable company to learn the trade and remeber the number one cardinal rule of electrical work. That is, "Always assume that what you are working on is hot." In other words test before you touch. Back feed sucks. Second rule is never trust another electrician then he or she tells you the power is off. I have plenty of wire cutters which is now wire stripers plus it violates rule 1.

do not try to memorize the code but learn how to use and interpret the code. It is good to know where to look in the code. As you start to learn the code, you will start to see contridiction within. If you know how to interpret the code and the intention of the code, live will be better for you. I try to keep my nose in it as much as possible. It always changing.


"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Re: at what age did you become an apprentice???? [Re: Trumpy] #167402 08/11/07 09:15 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 69
waymag Offline
Member
Just givin ya a hard time.....you are the hardest working fella on here.

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