Skills Canada Interview: Dan Scobie

A plumber
Dan Scobie is a journeyman plumber amongst other certifications. Photo: Courtesy of Erik Pinkerton Photography

Full Name: Dan Scobie

Skills Yukon/Canada affiliation: National Technical Committee Skills Canada—Plumbing

Age: 65

Trade(s) & Certifications: Journeyman Plumber, Gasfitter, Oil Burner Mechanic, Steamfitter, 4th Class Building Engineer
Current workplace: Retired from Yukon University 

How did you get involved in Skills Yukon, and why? 

Through the university trades, I was introduced to Skills and saw an opportunity to inspire youth to enter the trades.

How long have you been part of the National Technical Committee (NTC), and what prompted you to take the extra step to join? 

I have been with the NTC for eight years. I was involved with the Territorial Skills Competitions for eleven years. It seemed only natural to join the NTC to help organize the National Skills Competitions. 

What were the first steps you took in the trade? 

I attended a pre-apprenticeship program, but I come from a long line of plumbers, including [my] grandfather, father, uncles and cousins. l guess I was born into the trade.

What motivates you to continue your trade, day to day? 

The trade is so vast. With construction—residential, commercial and industrial—and building maintenance, you have the opportunity to perform many different tasks and to teach and inspire apprentices along the way.

How long did it take you to reach your level of certification? 

I was a journeyman plumber and gasfitter, in four years, at the age of twenty-two. As my level of experience increased, the other tickets followed.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who’s still in high school and wants to enter the trades, what would it be? 

Stay in school and learn the English, math and science required for trades school.

What does a regular day on the job look like for you? 

Every day is a different challenge, which keeps my mind and body healthy. 

How has your trade made your life better? 

Raising three beautiful daughters and being able to retire at sixty, so I can enjoy life the way I want.

What’s your favourite part of your job? Least favourite?

I love installing boilers and heating systems. My least favourite is that some people think you just deal with toilets all day.

Where did you take your training? 

In Alberta, both SAIT and NAIT, and attended Oil Burner’s at Fort Smith, N.W.T.

What trade would you choose to do if you had to pick a new one, and why?

I would pick electrical, because it is a big part of the heating and controls systems I work with daily.

Do you have a favourite project you’ve worked on?

I knocked off two years of my apprenticeship on a thirty-storey high-rise apartment building where I was involved with the plumbing, heating and boiler-room piping installation.

Where do you see your career in five years?

Where I am now. On a beach in the Dominican Republic. And still involved with Skills Canada. 

Is there something about your trade that you think not many people will know?

All the different aspects of the trade in which plumbers are involved.

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