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Shifting career gears: Mastering the electrical trade

SAIT alumnus and Red Seal electrician is leveling up and adding master electrician to his resumé.

SAIT alumnus and Red Seal electrician is leveling up and adding master electrician to his resumé.

“I am so excited to take a step forward in my career and for the new directions it can take me.”

For Tyler, a 35-year-old electrician and SAIT alumnus, the thought of earning his Master Electrician certification had been in the back of his mind for some time. Thanks to a serendipitous email, he decided to act on it and upskill in his trade, enrolling in the Master Code and Applied Theory course.

How would you describe your career journey from the time you earned your Red Seal to now?

I completed my Red Seal in 2014 and returned to working fly-in-fly-out jobs in Northern Alberta. I was lucky to be part of some major industrial projects at Fort Hills and Kearl Lake. I gained a lot of new skills through training and taking on more responsibilities on the job. Overall it’s been great, but I'm ready for an upgrade and new opportunities.

What inspired you to recently enroll at SAIT?

I've talked about wanting to obtain my Master Electrician certification for a few years now, especially lately, since being laid off in May due to COVID-19. I had been pricing out schooling and textbooks and seeing the different delivery options available for the Masters Code and Applied Theory course. I knew I was going to take it eventually and was just waiting for the right time. Then one morning when doing my usual routine and checking emails, I noticed one from SAIT Alumni announcing  the Alumni for Alumni Bursary. I just knew I had to get on this and enroll. Now I’m registered for January 2021 intake. I am so excited to take a step forward in my career and for the new directions it can take me.

How are you feeling about going back to school?

I'm excited to get back into the code book, but it will be different taking the course online. I will miss going to the electrical lab and going over problems in groups. But I like to learn, so I'm excited to refresh my knowledge of the code and hopefully learn some new tips and tricks from the instructors.

Looking back, what was your experience like in the Electrician program at SAIT?

I really enjoyed my time at SAIT. The campus is nice and modern, and the teachers in the electrical department are awesome. They were always there for extra help understanding formulas, interpreting the code book and guiding you towards a successful exam.

Where do you hope to go with your career?

I would like to find a company here in Calgary that I can grow with as a master electrician. I think my time in industrial electrical is done for now. I'd like to stay working local and spend more time with my family at home in the evenings after work.

One day I would like to get into the business side of the electrical field, so I’m also interested in the Blue Seal Certificate.

What advice do you have for someone thinking about updating their skills mid-career?

If your current role is unsatisfying or you don't like the hours, or maybe you work away from home for weeks at a time like I was, then you need to make a choice: keep going or strive for something more. Take the opportunity to change a not-so-great year into something positive for your career.

Learn from a SAIT expert and Master Electrician

“Future proofing to me means constantly improving your skills to maintain your relevance in the workforce. As the needs and demands of the workforce shift, the ability to be adaptable and flexible will be paramount. Being proficient in digital technologies and their integration with the electrical industry will be essential for workers in this profession for the foreseeable future.”

- Alan MacLean, Academic Chair, Electrical Trades

Read more shifting gears stories — and write your own!

Read Natalie’s story

How a SAIT business student — and ballerina — transitioned from dance to Business Administration, Accounting.

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