When Rodney began his career in the mining industry, an apprenticeship was “not part of the plan.” But he knew that getting hired was the start of many possibilities. Being in British Columbia, he also is able to enjoy the scenery and the outdoor life.
Rodney started as general labourer; his company needed a millwright apprentice and Rodney took a test, passed and began his four-year apprenticeship program. Each year he went to school for seven weeks of training.
Rodney moves throughout the mine site, driving a service truck that is equipped with a portable welder, portable torches and boxes in the back for tools. Rodney’s job is to inspect and maintain all the machinery, make any repairs and make certain that the equipment is up and running before the end of the day.
For example, Rodney might work at the crushing plant with another millwright, checking the screens that
separate and filter out the rock. He goes through each screen and changes out ones that are damaged or wearing out. Each day is different.
What Rodney enjoys most about mining are the people. “We’re a close-knit group and everybody gets along together.” To succeed as a millwright, he thinks a person should be comfortable working hands-on and be good
with hand tools. Millwrights must be able to work in a team and independently and should also have good leadership skills. They work outdoors a lot and so need to deal with the weather.
With his apprenticeship complete, Rodney plans to continue as a millwright, knowing that his skills are transferable throughout the mining industry.