Langley apprentice spotlighted in industry contest

Aspiring millwright walks away with a prize for speaking up about the bonuses of apprenticeship.

Edward Hatashita-Lee is a first-year millwright apprentice from Langley, whose critical-thinking skills paid dividends recently.

During apprenticeship recognition week last month, the Industry Training Authority held a contest where apprentices could share a picture of themselves and an explanation of what their industry “ticket” means to them.

Some spoke about how getting trained in their field has brought them experience, travel opportunities, leadership skills, a challenging career. About 200 apprentices participated, but the local man’s comments were among those singled out.

For 22-year-old Hatashita-Lee, he said he loves the critical thinking required in his chosen career, and how that mixes with the hands-on component of his job.

He ‘s a first-level millwright apprentice from BCIT, who has been working at Pacific Coast Fruit Products for the past year – mostly doing industrial and preventative maintenance, hands-on fabrication, lots of cutting and welding of stainless steel, and lots of mechanical and electrical work.

He’ll head back into the classroom to start level 2 training in January.

“The schooling consists of 50/50 in the classroom and in the shop to get a millwright red seal one must complete all four levels,” he explained.

Hatashita-Lee’s advice to anyone looking to get started in the skilled trades is to choose something you are passionate about, and never give up.

“Ever since I was young, I’ve always been interested in mining and heavy industry along with working with my hands,” he shared. “I wanted to do a job that consisted of a little bit of everything.”

In Grade 7, Hatashita-Lee conducted a career survey, the results suggesting he might make a good millwright. He laughs now, because he had to look up what a millwright was.

“Upon finding out there actually was a job that consisted of a little bit of everything industrially, I knew what I wanted to do,” he said.

In addition to a little extra notoriety, his prize for this ITA contest included a $100 gift card for Canadian Tire, which he’s expecting to use on a “big ticket tool” on sale.

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