The Finishing Trades Institute of BC has just shared an important milestone with one of our recent graduates. Jillian Steeves, became our first ever (ACE-IT) student to receive all of her in-school apprenticeship training and complete the Red Seal, Painter Decorator program with the FTI of BC. The fact that our first ever (ACE-IT) student to complete this feat is a woman, makes this an even more rewarding accomplishment.
For years now, we in the building trades have recognized that our traditional sources of recruitment are falling short when it comes to replacing our ageing skilled workforce. This is why when the (ACE-IT) program came along we were all in when it came to making this program a success. The Youth Train In Trades (ACE IT) program is an Industry Training Authority (ITA) youth initiative that provides support for students to acquire training that leads to certification as a journeyman, while they are enrolled in high school. Jillian was actually writing her high school final exams and making plans for Grad, the week she started her apprenticeship training at the FTI.
Thanks to the encouragement of a dedicated and proactive high school councillor at Frank Hurt Secondary School, located in Surrey, Jillian found her way into the (ACE-IT) program. Jillian told us that she had always had an interest in interior design and the use of colours so the painting program just felt like a natural fit. And fit in she has!
After completing her first level of training, Jillian set out to land her first job as a painter. Warline Painting Limited, had a sharp-eyed HR person, who also just happens to be a woman, who immediately spotted the potential in Jillian and offered her a career with their company. Jillian can’t say enough good things about her employer and the support she has received throughout her apprenticeship. In addition to allowing her the flexibility in her schedule to allow her to attend apprenticeship training, Warline Painting, also paid her full tuition.
In return, Warline Painting now has a Red Seal Journeyperson, who this week is leading a crew of six men working on several “High-End” homes around the Lower Mainland. Not too shabby when you consider that Jillian is only 21 years old. When we asked Jillian what it was like leading an all male crew she told us that she couldn’t be happier with the way she has been accepted. In fact, she told us, her co-workers appreciate the fact that she was prepared to shoulder the responsibility of being the lead person and relieve them of the stress that goes with that job.
However, some of Jillian’s highest praise goes to the FTI of BC and specifically her instructor, Chico Albino. Chico taught Jillian through all three levels of her schooling and speaks glowingly of her work ethic, her attention to detail and her maturity for such a young person. Jillian appreciated Chico’s patience and how he allowed her to learn from the mistakes she made and to not allow those mistakes to impede her goal of completing the program and earning her Red Seal. Chico allowed her to work and learn in and environment where the stresses were minimized and the successes were emphasised.
When we asked Jillian what was the greatest satisfaction she took from her experience here at the FTI and what advice she would give to other young people, she didn’t hesitate in giving us an answer. “Start out with the goal of finishing what you’ve started”. That is exactly what she accomplished when she successfully wrote and passed the Red Seal exam. Pretty good advice from a very impressive young woman.