Canadian Contractor


Got your trades education at school? Breaking into a union is the hard part

Network, network, network, says Guy, even if you think that unions like the IBEW are "closed shops"

A while back, a young would-be apprentice posted about how hard it was to get hired in the tradesThey complained about the IBEW being a “closed shop.” Well, we’ve heard THAT one a lot. Here is some (belated but welcome) advice from someone who found his way to a good gig…

My advice would be to network. Just like any job, it helps to know someone. Same for unions. I had been looking for an apprentice opportunity for a year and a half. I’m in the door now, but it took me pouring through my network of friends and family to find degrees of connection to electricians, introduce myself chat with them and build rapport. I manufactured relationships as you have to do in every other job. They also don’t care if you went to school, because they will teach you what you need to know during your apprenticeship. A lot of people feel entitled to jobs because they are educated, and a lot of people don’t know that the union (my local) receives 1200 apprentice applications per year. They bring in people who they have a character reference for. People they know. Don’t take it personally, just do what you can to be known.



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