Chris Gareau got his start early in construction. “When I was in high school, I took a metals course that got me really interested in welding,” he says.
His guidance counsellor at Fort Richmond Collegiate in Winnipeg pointed Chris toward a pre-apprenticeship program that allows high school students to study industrial welding at Winnipeg Technical College. Chris jumped at the opportunity. “I actually took an extra year to complete my high school diploma so I could participate in the program.”
The program allowed Chris to learn welding while earning credits toward both his high school diploma and his welding apprenticeship. Now living in The Pas, Manitoba, Chris is about to enter his second term as an apprentice welder.
Chris’ passion for working with his hands started at a young age. “I’ve loved working with power tools since I was a kid,” he says. And he doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. “I want to get my journeyman certificate and then I would like to start contracting. I’d like to own my own business.”
Chris is excited about his prospects. He sees working in construction as a lifelong career with endless opportunities. And not just for himself.
Even at the young age of 20, Chris has noticed that the construction industry is changing and growing – for the better. Lately, he says, more and more women are entering the welding trade. “It’s a good thing because they’re good workers. Years ago, it was mostly guys in construction. There still is a majority of guys, but slowly more women are coming in and doing it.”