To hear him talk about his work, you’d think Randy Nault is the happiest newly-certified Red Seal carpenter on the planet.
After all, every day he straps on his tool belt and does what he loves best in aid of the construction of one of the biggest worksite camps in the world.
He’s 25. He’s looking at steady employment long into the future. Every month he travels home to spend time with friends and family. And he’s already bought a home that he's pouring big chunks of his pay cheques into.
This is definitely a young man with his act firmly together.
Randy’s newfound Red Seal Journeyman status is not only a source of pride for him. Len Bryden. who runs the Alberta Carpenters Training Centre, claims a little piece of that pride for ACTC, too.
“Randy was part of the very first Alberta Apprenticeship class that we operated after we were officially recognized by the province to deliver Period One and Two training.
“To my knowledge, he’s the first of our apprentice trainees to achieve the Interprovincial Red Seal.
“We’re all pretty proud of Randy.”
Randy started framing houses in Central and Northern Alberta when he was just 19. He took an occasional side trip into heavy equipment operating – “it was fun and the money was good,” he says – but he kept coming back to his first love, carpentry.
“I’m not sure exactly why I joined the union. I guess I heard some good things about it. But now that I’ve seen it from the inside, I would never go back. I will always be a union man.”
Randy says the union has delivered steadier work, better working conditions and much better benefit and pension plans.
“And the $10 training fee has saved me a pile of money. I have seven or eight tickets, each of which would have cost me maybe $250 without the union.”
Randy says the ACTC staff was ‘really good’, and the facility was top notch – “It has mostly every tool you’ll ever need”.
Asked if he’s change anything, Randy has a suggestion for the provincial apprenticeship people.
“For 40 years, it’s been traditional that fourth years build a desk for their final test, even though they could go their whole careers and never build another desk.
“I’d like to see that changed so the test involved practical, real-life work like a roofs, stairs or concrete forms.
Randy says he enjoys working on PTI’s construction of a work camp 100 km northeast of Fort McMurray to service Kearl Lake, Suncor and Husky projects.
“Almost none of what we’re doing every day involved concrete forms. I get to work on a whole lot more of the finer carpentry skills like trimwork, interior finishing and working with a really great group of guys!"
“Every day, I get to do what I love to do!”
(Story posted July 2011)