L-146’s Hache wins Canadian apprentice contest

Contestants in the 2010 Canadian Boilermaker Apprenticeship Competition include, l. to r., Jackson Bishop, L-555; Lucas Wood, L-128; Andrew Dolan, L-73; Adam Saunders, L-359; Eric Hache, L-146; and Francis Cadieux, L-271.

Brooks receives Industry Award of Excellence

ERIC HACHE, a Local 146 (Edmonton, Alberta) graduate apprentice, took top honors in the 2010 Canadian Boilermaker Apprenticeship Competition held at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton June 21-24. The announcement came during the awards banquet at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald.

Hache, 37, hails from Maisonnette, New Brunswick. He worked in the lobster fishing and tobacco farming industries before traveling to Alberta in 2007 to try his hand as a Boilermaker. Hache said that during his first classes as an apprentice, he was surprised to learn how passionate Boilermakers are about their craft. “I thought, these guys are nuts — they talk about the trade like it was they their wives or something.” But that same passion has rubbed off on Hache. “Now I love the trade, too,” he said.

Hache competed against five other contestants who represented their construction lodges, including graduate apprentices Jackson Bishop, Local 555 (Winnipeg, Manitoba); Lucas Wood, Local 128 (Toronto, Ontario); Adam Saunders, Local 359 (Vancouver, British Columbia); Andrew Dolan, Local 73 (Halifax, Nova Scotia); and Francis Cadieux, Local 271 (Montreal, Quebec).

The 2010 competition also featured a new peer-level prize called the Apprentice Recognition Award. Contestants voted among themselves to select a contestant who best illustrated exemplary character throughout the competition. That award went to Lucas Wood.

Hache reflects on Boilermaker opportunity

THE OPPORTUNITY afforded to Hache by the Boilermaker apprenticeship program is certainly not lost on the former New Brunswick resident. In the span of a few years, he went from an unskilled worker in a small fishing village to the top Boilermaker graduate apprentice in all of Canada.

“I was happy to win the award, obviously, but really humbled by it,” he said. “You’ve got all these top-notch guys, and you actually did better [than they did] for those few days. At that moment you had a little edge on the others. I think the training in Canada is pretty good all over from what I can see.

“I never believed I would be making this kind of money, doing this kind of work, working in a safe environment,” he said. “It’s not only the union that requires it. The contractors also want you to be safe. Even the industry is going that way. It’s really nice.

“They take care of the older members, too,” Hache observed. “And I think that when I’m 60, maybe they’ll take good care of me.”

Apprenticeship carries responsibilities, says IVP Power

EASTERN CANADA IVP Ed Power spoke at the banquet on behalf of Intl. Pres. Newton B. Jones and the International Executive Council.

“Most people think of an apprenticeship program as an avenue to learn a trade,” Power said. “Well, that is correct, but it’s also about the opportunities and responsibilities.” He urged the apprentice contestants to honor responsibilities to the trade and the union and to “protect the valuable traditions that your forefathers worked so hard for.”

Power added, “You are the ‘Boilermaker advantage.’ It is your responsibility to work safe, to work smart, to continue to show our contractors that our trade, the Boilermaker trade, is among the best in the industry.”

Industry award goes to Brooks

THIS YEAR’S INDUSTRY Award of Excellence, which recognizes contributions to apprentices and the Boilermaker industry, went to Grant Brooks. A trustee on the National Training Trust Fund since its inception in 1991, Brooks recently retired from Bantrel Constructors. He previously worked for Catalytic Enterprises Limited at Suncor and at Bechtel on the Syncrude project. During his career, Brooks worked extensively on maintenance and construction projects across Canada and the United States.

In presenting the award to Brooks, Local 146 BM-ST Warren Fraleigh praised him as “a huge proponent of the Boilermaker organization and obviously a staunch supporter of our apprenticeship program.”

Brooks noted that while he is formally retired, he hopes to continue as a trustee for the NTTF for a few more years, and he still does some work with the Boilermaker Contractors’ Association of Canada.

“I’ve certainly enjoyed the last 38 years of working with this industry,” he said. “I encourage our contractors to use Boilermaker apprentices. Apprentices are our future.”

Competition goes biennial

NATIONAL TRAINING COORDINATOR Grant Jacobs reported at the banquet that NTTF trustees have unanimously approved a change in format that will see the apprenticeship competition go to a biennial schedule. The next event will be held in Moncton, New Brunswick, in 2012, with future competitions held every two years.

The new format will double the number of contestants and allow for team competition as well as individual tests. “Pairing contestants in team competition will reflect how they work together on the job,” Jacobs said. Other modifications are also being considered to “create the changes trustees were looking for and to reenergize the competition,” he added.

Contestants will be selected from graduating apprentice classes during the year of the competition as well as from the preceding year.