Keeping An Open Mind, Meet Travis Friesen

Full name: Travis Friesen, Skills Yukon alumni, volunteer and board member

Age: 30

Trade: Sheet Metal Worker

Current workplace: Hvactech Systems

What motivated you to get into this career?
I was looking for a change in my career and saw an ad for sheet metal. It peaked my interest and the rest is history!

Was there someone who got you excited about this path?
There was no specific person that got me started on this career path. I did have some friends in trades already and they thought it may be a good fit for me. Since I’ve started with Hvactech Systems I have had the opportunity to work with an awesome crew of people and continually get excited about upcoming projects and custom pieces.

What was it like to go to post-secondary school and work at the same time?
Going to post-secondary school and work at the same time was awesome! It is all hands-on with great instructors that want to see you do well in the field because that’s also where they come from.

What is the best part of being in your trade?
I would say the best part of being in my trade is that if you can imagine something you can build it. There are so many opportunities to grow in this field any many other trades!

What does a regular day look like for you in your job?
A regular day for me is going to a construction site and measuring up all of the different fittings that need to be built. I will then go back to our metal fabricating shop, build said fittings and then install them back on the construction site. Occasionally I get the opportunities to build custom work for customers.

If you met someone who was looking at getting a job in the trades, what piece of advice would you give them?
What I would say to someone getting into trades would be keep an open mind. Don’t commit to one trade right off the get go as there are so many different opportunities. I lucked out and love what I do, others may not be as lucky and it is a commitment once you get into the trade you choose. There are some great programs in the Yukon that allow you to try a trade and talk with people who have experience.

How has your trade made your life better, if it has?
My trade has helped me to realize how creative I can be. I love creating custom pieces and artwork from metal. I’ve made everything from a sofa to a bbq, a model train at one of the National Skills Canada competitions, and even copper roses to use as boutonnieres for my wedding last summer! I also joined Skills Canada Yukon as a board member this year and am looking forward to the exciting opportunities ahead! It’s been really fun acting as a mentor for the youth that are competing now.

What is the most interesting thing/project you have worked on?
I would have to say my final year project when I was attending NAIT for my Red Seal ticket. We were tasked with creating and designing our own projects. They had to meet certain criteria such as welding, custom fab and use of specific tools in the shop but other than that we had total freedom, the projects ranged from fooseball tables to BBQs, and fire pits. I wanted to make a model as I had to drive mine back to the Yukon and not just down the road in Edmonton. I designed and built a cold rolled steel model tractor and trailer which I was extremely happy with.

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