At 30 years old, George Kardaras is about to complete his apprenticeship as an Electrician. And he’s looking forward to it.
“Once you get a licence, a lot of things open up,” he says.
As a young man, George spent most of his summers trying his hand at various construction trades. When he discovered electrical work, he knew he’d found his calling. “Once I tried working in electrical, I really enjoyed it and decided to stick with it.”
To become an apprentice Electrician, George found an employer who was willing to take him on, a path he recommends to others starting out in construction. “It’s easier to get started, if you’ve already found a job.”
For his first job placement, George worked at a small family-owned electrical business. His employer, Bill Ellacott, promised George that if he worked out, he’d sign him up as an apprentice. “True to his word, at six months we went and signed up with the Ministry of Training Colleges & Universities,” George recalls.
Now in his fifth apprenticeship term, George is working at Imperial Electric, an Ottawa-based company that offers a range of commercial and residential services. “It’s very gratifying,” he says. “I go to somebody’s house or business and they have a problem and I fix it for them. You get to flick a switch and see the results immediately on a daily basis. A lot of times, it’s a stressful situation for the customer because it’s dangerous and you get there and make them feel safe. It’s constantly gratifying.”
And it isn’t only the customers who appreciate him. “Electrical is very scary if you don’t understand it,” he says, “so you’re highly regarded on the job site among other construction workers.”
For his part, George has nothing to fear about electrical. During his training at Algonquin College, he was “taught to take (his) time and be serious.”
That work ethic is taking him places. George won Gold at the 2004 Ontario Technological Skills Competition, an annual event held in Kitchener. And he finished fourth at the national competition in Winnipeg.
For now, George is keeping his options open and focusing on short term goals – completing his licensing exam, becoming a certified Electrician… and winning Gold at the 2005 Skills Canada National Competition.
With the variety of opportunities available to him, George is content to “play it by ear.”