Modern Niagara Edmonton has a well-established tradition of delivering high-quality solutions to building owners and managers across the country and we are continuing to grow our Edmonton office with experienced professionals for upcoming projects. As such, we reached out to both Sam Huber and Kent Nedula, two Sheet Metal Apprentices from our Edmonton shop, who spoke about their journey into the trades, their experience working at Modern, and navigating their apprenticeships through COVID-19.
Sam Huber began his trades career through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) in high school, where he was able to gain both in-class and workplace experience.
“I got started in the trades from high school, in Alberta they have a program that helps high school students get a foot in the door into the trades,” Sam said.
Even before graduating high school, Sam accumulated more than enough hours to begin his trades school program but chose to work for another year to gain additional experience.
“After high-school, I worked for a year in a shop here in Edmonton before I went to school, so I had double the amount of hours I needed, plus shop and field experience,” Sam recalled.
Kent Nedula is also a third-year sheet metal apprentice at Modern Niagara Edmonton, who initially joined the trades in Edmonton through a family connection.
“My brother-in-law used to work in a shop in the welding side and he helped me get into working at the same company,” said Kent. “From there I got into sheet metal.”
“I used to work with Derek and many of my current co-workers at a previous company, and eventually I got a call for Derek inviting me to apply to Modern and so I moved over to working there,” Kent said.
On the other hand, Sam came to join Modern in June of 2020, after completing his third year at his trades school program.
“I was in school during the pandemic, so I was already out of a job at the time and the employer I expected to go back with didn’t take me back,” Sam mentioned. “I came across a Modern posting on a job board for a shop position and they were starting off with a lot of overtime, so I was very happy to be working there.”
After the summer, Sam was asked to return to the field and has continued his apprenticeship at Modern, working mainly at the Norwood Long-Term Care Facility project in downtown Edmonton. Currently in his fourth year and final year of school, Sam is hoping to drag out his last term to make the most out of this job, and will likely remain in school until at least September 2022. Looking back on his experience with Modern, Sam reflected positively on both his work and the team of people he has collaborated on projects with.
“It’s been quite good, I’ve been very satisfied with the job and the foreman I’m working for right now,” said Sam. “I know the foreman from my current site from a previous job and I know a lot of the crew members, so coming back after school was like putting a hand in a glove.”
Kent shared similar feelings about his experience and expanded on both the positive workplace environment and culture at Modern.
“My experience so far has been good, Modern’s a great company to work with and they treat you with a lot of respect!” Kent mentioned. “Modern gives you the tools you need to do your job, there is a greater emphasis on safety, and they make sure to acknowledge you when you do a good job!”
Both Kent and Sam began their careers with Modern during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Kent described how he has adjusted to the new conditions and workplace requirements in order to continue working safely and keep progressing in his apprenticeship.
“It’s impacted us pretty much like everyone else, you had to make sure to wear your mask working with other people in the field and stand six feet apart from other commuters when taking the bus,” said Kent. “Other than that, thankfully the pandemic hasn’t affected our work too much, we’ve been able to keep our shop going and the maintain the work on our projects.”
While the pandemic forced many people to remain home during the Spring and early months of summer, Sam chose to use his free time during the early months of the pandemic to practice and sharpen his skills.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, I had just enough extra money to purchase sheet metal tools to keep up my skills and practice at home, and that seemed to impress a few of the guys at Modern when I was hired,” Sam mentioned. “Even though I was home for a few months, for at least 8-10 hours a day I was practicing skills I use in the trade now, so I’m thankful I found ways to stay productive during my pandemic experience.”
In his free time, Sam also applied his sheet metal skills to making metal roses from a 24 square foot sheet of copper he purchased during the pandemic. Furthermore, Sam highlighted the process of creating unique and functioning products, as well as always improving his skills, as some aspects of his work that he truly enjoys.
“It’s really satisfying to see progress with your skills and very cool to be able to take raw materials and really be able to let your mind go and make anything, not only an HVAC system,” Sam mentioned. “That’s something I really enjoy about sheet metal; you can apply your skills to multiple things.”
When asked about what advice he would give to a young person starting their journey in the trades, Sam focused on the importance of problem solving and being flexible in your work.
“Be creative and have an open mind,” Sam affirmed. “Sometimes things come from the shop and the print that sometimes need to be re-work, so you have to be creative and change how things are and not just wait for the answer or the solution to come to you.”
We’re expanding our Sheet Metal Team in Edmonton! If you’re interested in learning about how to join Sam, Kent, and other skilled tradespeople like them, click here.