4th Year Plumbing Apprentice
When I started at Metro Burner (now Iron Dog) in 2016, I had just completed the NSCC one year plumbing course and I was really green. I was nervous at first since everyone here was so good at what they do, but luckily they were all really friendly and wanted to help me learn. As an older apprentice, I tried to be a sponge and take in any information they would give me.
I was able to learn a wide variety of different aspects of the trade very quickly at Iron Dog from basic drainage piping to installing boilers. We do a lot of heating calls here which is great because you don’t learn heating service in school and this is the perfect place to work if you have an interest in heating. We also have access to all the best equipment for clearing drains. I was trained with many different sizes of snakes as well as jetters and cameras.
Over the past 4 years, I have been able to work the required number of hours to allow me to go back to NSCC and complete the next block of the plumbing trade. Our company President, Gord, makes sure we are staying on top of our apprenticeship requirements and when we have enough hours worked, he gets us registered for the next available school date. I am pretty fortunate to have gone from a first year apprentice in 2016 to this year; in 2021 I will complete my 4th block and be able to write my Red Seal exam.
Working at Iron Dog is challenging – our customers (and Gord) expect a lot from us. But we work hard and get to have some fun as well. In the summer when we are a little less busy, Gord takes the whole company away for a day of golf and we stay overnight in the chalets. Our company has grown a lot since I joined, so getting a chance to be away with the team is a great chance to chat with the guys that have been around a long time and to meet some of the newer hires.
I am really looking forward to getting my Red Seal certification this year.
“Working at Iron Dog is challenging – our customers (and Gord) expect a lot from us. But we work hard and get to have some fun as well.”
Red Seal Gas Fitter II Technician
I joined what was then Metro Burner Services as a Gas Fitter Apprentice in May of 2016. I had relocated from Pictou County (Thorburn) and completed the Gas Fitter Course at the Akerley NSCC Campus.
Although I enjoyed the course, I had a lot to learn about the trade and working on natural gas fired appliances. I spent the next 2 years working with various journeymen at Iron Dog including Oil Burner Techs, Plumbers and of course Gas Techs. I would ride shotgun in the truck and we did everything from cleaning small 80 000 btu residential furnaces to troubleshooting 3.5 million BTU boilers in large multi residential buildings when tenants were left with no heat and no hot water in the middle of winter – that is challenging.
Our company President takes a real interest in ensuring apprentices stay on track with their training requirements to get to become a Red Seal technician. He brings the person in from the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency every couple of months and we meet with her and review our hours worked, and what the next date is for us to go back to school or begin doing modules online. We completed the school registration right in his office one day.
In 2019 I went back to NSCC and completed a six-week Gas Fitter training program and once I finished I wrote the Red Seal Gas Fitter B exam. About a week later after eagerly checking the mail everyday I received a letter with my score outline from the exam, it stated I had passed and would receive my Red Seal certification – I was beyond excited and relieved! The program was tough at times and the exam wasn’t easy but with hard work and a positive attitude it didn’t stand a chance!
Once I received my Red Seal certification, I received a good bump in my hourly rate of pay and was given a company service van which I took home at night so I was available to respond to after hour calls – not bad considering I was only 23 years old.
We have a good team of Gas Techs here at Iron Dog, so I am only on call about one weekend a month. The other Techs are really helpful as there is still a lot to learn – but I can call anyone of them any time of day or night and know that they will answer questions or give me suggestions if I am having trouble getting a boiler to restart.
I like the career path that I am on – I am now registered as a Gas Fitter A Apprentice and I am hoping to have my Red Seal Gas Fitter A in a couple of years and expand into HVAC.
“The other Techs are really helpful as there is still a lot to learn – but I can call anyone of them any time of day or night and know that they will answer questions.”
“The comradery among the Iron Dog team is by far the best I have experienced in the industry as an apprentice.” - Luke Grant