Turning a hobby into a career

Lowell Tait is ready for great opportunities. Photo: Skills Canada Yukon

Full name: Lowell Tait 

Age: 25

Trade: heavy duty equipment, truck and transport technician 

Current workplace: Yukon Energy 

What motivated you to get into this career? When I was younger, I enjoyed tinkering on snowmobiles, attempting to build go carts and working on my truck. I found it satisfying to take something that was broken and see the results of fixing it or making it better than it originally was. When it came time to make a decision about what I wanted to do after high school I realized I could turn my hobby into a career. 

Was there someone who got you excited about this path? I’d have to say my Dad, Russ Tait, was a big influence on where I’m at now. Being a shop teacher, he had some great insight on the trades and offered programs. 

Was there a class in secondary school that helped you be more proficient at the work you do now? Intro to trades, Mechanics 10, Sled Ed 11/12 were probably the most relevant courses to what I’m doing now. 

What was it like to go to post-secondary school and work at the same time? I think more programs should be designed this way. It was helpful to try out the career before completing the schooling. It was a huge benefit financially as well as a good chance to get hands on with what I had been learning at school. Also being able to break up school with work was a great way to reset, stay motivated, and keep focused on the books.

What is the best part of being in your trade? I’d have to say some highlights are challenging myself to solve a wide range of problems. The constant variety of equipment and work as well as the practical knowledge that I can use every day on and off the job. 

What does a regular day look like for you in your job? Can’t say I’ve ever had a regular day. It can vary from flying into a wind monitoring site, annual unit maintenance, planning a site shutdown or driving up the highway to troubleshoot an issue. The only thing that is regular about my day job is learning something new. 

If you met someone who was looking at getting a job in the trades, what piece of advice would you give them? Don’t underestimate where trades can take you. If you’re willing to put in the work and apply yourself, you will end up with some great opportunities.

How has your trade, if any, has made your life better? With my trade I’ve been fortunate enough to work with many skilled people in all sorts of different work environments. Also working with mechanical equipment has given me the experience to work through and resolve problems.

What is the most interesting thing/project you have worked on? I’d have to say troubleshooting hydraulic governor controls on our hydro units. When you’ve got upwards of 20 megawatts of power at your fingertips the pressure can be high but it can also give you a great sense of empowerment.

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