Odis Gauthier, apprentice plumberOdis Gauthier, apprentice plumber

Peguis First Nation, MB

Odis Gauthier

As a young boy growing up in Winnipeg, Odis Gauthier had no idea that he would find his calling in Canada’s construction industry. In fact, he didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up. What he did know was that, like so many children his age, he wanted adventure.

By the time Odis was old enough to be working, he still hadn’t settled on a career path. He had moved to Edmonton, where he held odd jobs including a stint in shipping and receiving at Northgate Industries Ltd., a trailer manufacturer.

Odis was looking for a bigger challenge. When he came across an advertisement for Trade Winds to Success, he knew he’d found it.

Run by the Aboriginal Futures Career and Training Centre, Trade Winds helps Aboriginal people in Edmonton and Calgary get training and find work in trades such as boilermaking, ironworking, carpentry, plumbing, welding and steamfitting/pipefitting.

“I phoned (Trade Winds) up and asked them what they were about,” Odis says. “They invited me down to an orientation and … I enrolled with them.”

Odis wanted to push himself, so the plumbing trade appealed to him because it required a four-year apprenticeship rather than the three years of training required for the other trades. “It seemed more in-depth than some of the other trades,” he explains.

As a first-year apprentice plumber, 31-year-old Odis is in his element. His favourite aspect of the job is the constant challenge of learning new skills. “There’s a lot of variety, a lot to learn,” he says. “I’m told that no matter how long you’re in the trade you can never know everything about plumbing, so it’s interesting.”

Odis is currently working for Lockerbie and Hole Contracting Inc. on several commercial and institutional projects in Edmonton. “Right now, there’s a lot of work in the city,” Odis says. “My employer said that I should be working with them for at least the next five years.”

As for what lies beyond those five years, Odis is looking forward to having his journeyperson ticket and starting his own plumbing business. As he says: “It would be my own adventure.”