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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, everyone.

I am from Toronto and a 3rd year apprentice. I have been told that I am a "BEGINNER" today when I try to look for jobs. Am I doing anything wrong? Here is my background and my story...:(

Three years ago, I was working for an electrical company. This company is not really an electrical contractor. They do contracting but it is just minor, the major is machanics. IMO, they do more than a just contracting company.

What bascially they do is to help factories moving location. Take few weeks in the new location to build up main and sub panels, install tonnes of transformers and split power up into varies voltages. Install lighting fixtures. Run piping and amount panel switches for each locaton where the machines will be locating. And take few days to took off all the powers and disconnect everything from the machines at original location. Then again take few weeks to hook the power back up at new location, and do little calibration. If there were new machines, we would have to do more works and make sure they can pass the CSA inspections.

I worked with this company for about 2yrs and got laid off. Afterwards, I found a new job and worked in a factory as a mechanical assembler. A workmate there told me I should have joined apprenticeship program. So I asked my ex-boss to sign me up so I got my hours back and I began with 2nd yr. My ex-boss convinced me to pick the program of 309A Construction and Maintenance Electrician instead of 442A Industrial Electrician. Since I have both experiences but he said 309A is much better...

In 2007 winter, I finally got my apprentice card and started to look for a "real" job for this time. However, winter was really a hard time to get jobs...and Luckily, I got a temperarily one. But this is a plant electrician and supposed to be done by a 442A electrician. Worked for 2 months and passed the low season. I found another job throu the Union. I told the boss I don't have any experiences in commercials but he still took me.

Worked for almost half year now. And everything goes well until the locations of work sites moved to out town. I used to travel 1-3 hours everyday from home to sites. But now, the travel time gonna jump to 4-8. My boss provides hotel tho but I still cannot make it. I dont want to leave my family for 3 months. So I am forced to stay home for 3 months now.

Yesterday, I tried to look for jobs and call those companies who were posting jobs on internet. Although I got few nice replys for interviews, one of them replies really pissed me off.

A lady, prolly she was just a receptionist.

Lady: Where did ur work b4?
Me: BahLaLa contractor.

Lady: What kind of works you worked there?
Me: Commercial, shopping malls and offices.

Lady: How long have u worked with them?
Me: Five months.

Lady: Oh, only five months??
Me: Yea, but I am a 3rd year.

Lady: So where else did you work b4?
Me: XYZ automated machines and ABC electricial Technic.

Lady: Oh man. XYZ is like an industrial company not a contracting company. And I have never heard of ABC.
Me: hmmm....

Lady: How much you were getting?
Me: $12 but I just finished 2nd yr so I am looking for more.

Lady: Can you make conduits?
Me: Just alittle bit. Like bending a 90 degress and minor offsets on both ends.

Lady: Oh, SO YOU ARE A VERY BEGINNER!
Me: Well....

Lady: You may get a call back by at the end of the week.


The post looks like this: ELECTRICIAN - 3rd, 4th & 5th year. lic. Steady work & good pay. 123-312-213

Am I doing anything wrong? I have a nicely looking resume but no way to show it on the phone. Plz help!
 

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have you ever been told this?

Some people want a 30 years exp. from a guy in his twenties. Contact the IBEW and apply for their apprenticeship. I put up with the same thing 36 years ago 2 years of school , and never enough exp.I started from day one in the IBEW apprenticeship and never had to account for exp. again I have worked 65,000 hours in 34 years and missed some minor amounts of time here and there. But never had to account for exp. to get hired.
 

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I have a couple questions. It sounds like Ontario apprentiship is much different then Alberta, but maybe I just dont know enough about it here since I only keep up with what I am doing. But signing up to be an electrician is just that, my appretinship card just has "Electrician" on it, no other designation.

You say you began as a second year, but did you do the schooling to be a second year? You also then state that in teh phone call you were a 3rd year. But where did you get that extra year?
Out here to progress in the "years" you must complete the required hours, certain tasks, and the schooling.

Also $12 an hour seems REALLY low to me. But I dont know if thats just because of the market differences. Here in Alberta as a starter/1st year you make 50% of Journyman rate, 60% as a 2nd year, 70% as a 3rd year, 80% as a 4th, and then 100% when you are actually a Jman.
Right now around here the average jman rate between 33-36/hr. Some places pay more depending on the work, but I dont know anywhere thats under 33/hr.

Whats a 5th year electrician?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, there are two kinds of licences for electrician in Ontario. In general, 85% of journeymen would say 309A construction and maintenance electrician's licence is better than 442A industrial electrician's licence. Coz 309A with mechanics background can get jobs in both contruction field and plant field. Reversely, 442A can only get jobs in plant field. That's the way my ex-boss explained to me.

Well, the total hours to finish the apprenticeship program in Ontario are 9000hrs, and each year you can only obtain the maximum of 1800hrs. Any advanced educations like dipolma and degree will obtain another 500hrs bonus in the beginning. The hours of schooling provided by the apprenticeship program will be counted the same way as your working hours. There are three classes throu out the whole program. The schedules of schooling are randomly designed by consultants. They will send a letter to let you know when u are going to college. If you missed it, you may have to wait a year for the next term. I wish these information could make it more clear to you lol.

Well, I began with 2nd year after I handed in my hours sheet to prove how much hours I worked in my first company and I also got 500hrs bouns from my education(a three years dipolma in Automation and Robtics). So bascially I was like 600hrs away from 3rd year. For the past 6 months I have obtained another 1200+hrs. When I got laid off and tried to apply for EI this week(Employment Insurance, incase you are not a Canadian and doesn't know what it is. =P), I reported to my consultant and hours was added at the same time. I also comfired with the consultant if I haved turned into 3rd year now, she answered "yes". I think it is very important for me to make sure coz it makes a 10% wages up.

Yes, I think it is the market differences. Coz here the average Journeyman rate is around 24/hr. But I heard that housing and other expenditures in Alberta are much much more expensive than in Ontario, maybe it makes the differences. And the pay rate here 1st yr is 40%, 2nd yr is 50%, 3rd yr is 60%, 4rd yr is 70% and 5th yr is 80%. I would say 5th yr mean an apprentice who has done 5yrs training but still hasn't done the examination for the licence lol.

This forum is really helpful and I learned alot here =). Thank You everyone for reading and replys.
 

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Ah ok, thanks for clearing it up, makes a bit more sence now.
I assume its a red seal (interprovincial approved trade training) in ontario aswell right?

The cost of living in Alberta is pretty close to Ontario, maybe a slight bit higher, but not high enough for me to have expected such a large pay difference, would explain why it seems 80% of the workers on the site are from out east though (probably realistically 50%), lol. And the demand for workers is really high here, almost everyone is looking for staff.

As for advice for you, keep your head up and keep looking.
Might be worth taking a drive to some of the larger sites around where you live and finding out who is doing the electrical there and then apply in person. Its how I got on where I am now, its about 5 minutes from my place and will be 10+ years work there if I choose to stay.
 

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Personally, I am not in the union, but I would consider somebody a beginner as well that can't bend anything more than a 90 degree in conduit. I mostly do residential work, but I can bend as well as any commercial electrician can. I have put in more than enough hours in commercial work for that. By the time I was in my third year, I was running my own jobs and basically doing everything a Journeyman would. Now I have a masters liscense and own my own company. I don't feel as though you should be doing what a journeyman should, but I do believe you should know your way around a jobsite fairly well, and have a solid knowledge of at least the basics of electrical work to be paid liek a third year apprentice. From your brief description, it doesn't sound to me as though you do.

Perhaps you can revise how you present yourself to potential employers. When asked if you can bend conduit maybe reply with" yes I can bend conduit, not quite as well as a journeyman, but I can bend." And then go get yourself some conduit and start practicing. You have to turn everything positive. From your brief description above, I too would get the impression you are very much a beginner. Get yourself a new sales pitch, and this time make yourself out to be a positive for the company, while not exactly lying about your skills.

Jeff
 

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I know in my area work is bad. lots of electrician out of work. Companies know this and put ads out seeking helpers or apprentices when in fact they are trying to catch a journeyman who is willing to take lower wages.

Don't be afraid to sell yourself. Once you get on the job and prove you are a hard worker and dependable , you will be fine.

And be careful of those companies that don't give names or addresses and are real secretive.
 

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A lady, prolly she was just a receptionist.

Lady: Where did ur work b4?
Me: BahLaLa contractor.

Lady: What kind of works you worked there?
Me: Commercial, shopping malls and offices.

Lady: How long have u worked with them?
Me: Five months.

Lady: Oh, only five months??
Me: Yea, but I am a 3rd year.

Lady: So where else did you work b4?
Me: XYZ automated machines and ABC electricial Technic.

Lady: Oh man. XYZ is like an industrial company not a contracting company. And I have never heard of ABC.
Me: hmmm....
Me: well xyz did industrial contracting and actually did tasks not normally done by run of the mill contractors. That gave me some great experience that will be asset to your company. And ABC did well rounded work also at many types of jobs. I feel I have a lot to offer your company.

Lady: How much you were getting?
Me: $12 but I just finished 2nd yr so I am looking for more.

Lady: Can you make conduits?
Me: Just alittle bit. Like bending a 90 degress and minor offsets on both ends.
Me: Yes I sure can. I am still learning of course, but I am a competent conduit hanger.

Lady: Oh, SO YOU ARE A VERY BEGINNER!
Me: Well....
Me: Not at all. I am a 3rd year with well rounded experience. I'm sure your company would find me a competent, reliable worker and an asset to the team.

Lady: You may get a call back by at the end of the week.
Me: I will look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time. May I forward my resume to you for further information?

The post looks like this: ELECTRICIAN - 3rd, 4th & 5th year. lic. Steady work & good pay. 123-312-213

Am I doing anything wrong? I have a nicely looking resume but no way to show it on the phone. Plz help!

You have to sell yourself. Be more positive. Don't be afraid to embellish a bit. No lies, but don't admit any short comings if at all possible. Try to convince the company that they need you for the position.
Good luck next time.
 
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