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New Apprentices / Good Or Bad?

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After reading Verticle , Canadian Operators story , the interviewed operators stated that " it was hard to find anyone with any sort of competency, bred-in mechanical skills, or work ethics that we were used to seeing 10 years ago."


"We are seeing a lack of experienced people, and a definite lack of people that want to work in some of the remote locations that we operate in."


"We used to be able to train apprentices where they learned hands-on experience in the field. Now they have to go to a trade shool , but after graduation they 're not flocking to the helicopter industy, they are going to the airlines or manufactures like Bombardier. We are at a disadvantage."


-As a whole are we not promoting the engineer as a career? Helicopter.


-Are these trade schools not producing a qualified apprentice?


-Are these new apprentices without any type of hands on skills (soft skills), that employers need ?


-Are the older engineers not able because of time constraints or not willing to, Mentor , these new apprentices that the industry says it needs so badly?


-Have we created our own problem of not taking the time to show these new apprentices the years of knowledge one has gained. "He's forgotten more than you'll ever know."


-Does the new up and coming apprentices age, have to do with the lack of or not wanting to "Work and get dirty", for a living , because they did'nt have the same opportunities as we had.


I am sure that there are many opinions on why, and what we can and should do to address these shortcomings.


What do we really want in an apprentice , how can we fastrack them , are we willing to spend the time and resources needed to produce a quality engineer?


What does a company need to do to keep them?



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Engineers are just like pilots. Nobody is going to spend weeks and weeks in the bush when they can have a regular job with an airline and be at home with the wife and kids. If you are going to the bush it should be two weeks on two weeks off and whatever combination of pay that equals $50k a year. That's just above the poverty line these days.

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SISYPHUS: You hit the nail on the head, another way to look at is called "QUALITY OF LIFE".


Singles have a different quality of life than married people. This has been an un- recognized fact in the industry and people put up with it. The worst scenario years ago was getting a job on the Polar Shelf contract and leaving in the Spring and coming back in the Fall or working with Geological Survey under the same conditions.


The helicopter is a unique machine and is required to support these types of operations.


The operator should insist that his crews deserve a rotation,

on whatever his aircrew agree on to enhance quality of life.


This can be included in the cost of the contract to the customer.


If you want to keep people in the industry you had better start looking at Quality of Life being offered.


Please don't tell me that this the way of the "Bush Pilot" in this day and age. BS


Cheers Don

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One only has to look at other workers at the camps we stay at.No one is treated with less regard from my experience.We had mentioned about the rest period including somewhat less noisy than next to the generator shack,and were promptly told to stay an hour or so away,as they cared less about our comfort.

as for apprentii,I find that none want to take the books home to read up on,granted extra manuals aren't available for them to take..With field engineers,a course in small engines and a host of other training is invaluable but never offered.

you have to remind them that there was as much as 30 or more years of paperwork issued on the A/C so get reading,or take it with you in the field..

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Exactly right Blackmac!


If the employers need "good" people they are going to have to make it attractive to them and what was attractive to us in the "olden days" is no longer attractive. They are going to have to up the ante.


Is there really any choice between wrenching in the YVR Air Canada hangar and eating black flies for six months straight on the muskeg. Duh, I don't think so.

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Why would good quality people want to do this for a living when they can be an apprentice at any other trade and make just as much or more money(And be at Home). The fact is only a few of the apprentices I have worked with really loved the business and If you don't love it you won't last. The other problem I found as an apprentice was from day one other engineers were telling me that the industry sucked and I should do something else. With that mentality no wonder we're breeding poor quality workers. Attitudes need to change and wages need to go up or nobody will stay in the game. And incidently 50k a year is a ridiculously low wage for what we do, plumbers make more. Why should our quality of life suck to put more profits in the owners pockets!

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I aggree wholeheartedly spragclutch, attitudes have to change to make the workplace more pleasant. I try to be positive with people and make them want to be there but as you say it runs rampant that we are faced with huge amounts af negativity. Personnally I don't think we should compare our saleries to plumbers, the nicest street in Leduc Ab has 2 plumbers, 1 surveyor, 1 teacher, 1 principal,,,,I don't want to be one so whatever. If riding a horse looking after cattle paid more then maybe would think about a change but so far,,,. I think we have more responsibility than doctors, have to have the legal knowledge of a lawyer, the reflexes of an 18 yr old, hand/eye coordination of an hockey player, bravery of a soldier, and diplomacy of a grandma so we should slap ourselves on the back and give credit where credit is due.


Some of our bosses are idiots, or worse but find an occupation where this is not true and then give it a go with the knowledge that, one person can make a difference to how many feel and one person can change your attitude, guess who?


I would hazard a bet that your coworkers like to work with you and if more people have a positive type of attitude it will help. You don't have to be robin williams to have a good attitude. Pay and timeoff are not going to be better tommorrow or at the next company especially if bitterness becomes a way of life, trust me on this.


Many of us want a answer to our problem NOW, as we can see viable working solutions to most of the day to day problems, but a person has to think at least a year down the road to see if that solution will work, you may not even see much difference then but general attitudes take a long time to change and whoever said "slow and steady the course" is very right.


So think of ways to implement ideas, then work at them, and STAY working at them for as long as it takes to justify making another change.



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Hey there everyone. I have been reading these forums for the past couple of months, and decided to jump out of the shadows. I am a new apprentice. All I want is to work with helicopters. I have no interest in building wheels in Air Canada’s hanger for the next 30 years. If I did then I would feel like I was missing out in life. Most of my other puppy mill “graduate” colleges would be happy as can be hiding out in the temperate climate of a hanger, collecting pay cheques (sp?). In 20 years I may be just as happy doing the same, but I am in my early 20s, single, and I want to go north. Currently I am stuck in the largest city on the left coast. Get me outa here! I have done some work in northern BC and Alberta before, and would trade number 3 road and 3 000 000 cars for black flies and northern princesses gladly.


How do I let the right people know that I am willing and able to take these jobs? I have been finding my way into hangers in the lower mainland and on the island, but no one is interested. I have taken a job tossing bags at the airport to finance my nasty eating habit. Anyone have any advice?


Apprentice :huh:

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