Working as a shop labourer this summer in TNDC’s Dease Lake Mechanical Shop has been an enlightening experience for Keenan Joseph. In addition to cleaning the shop and assisting the mechanical team, Keenan has been learning about welding – introducing him to a new career.

Keenan previously worked as a cleaner in the local Dease Lake supermarket. Eager to try something different, he jumped at the opportunity to work in the mechanical shop of his nation’s business arm. Not sure what to expect, he was pleasantly surprised and will return for his final year of high school with a new set of skills.

A shop labourer provides valuable exposure to everything that takes place in a mechanical shop and to learn firsthand about the different trades. It is the stepping stone to a successful career for a heavy duty mechanic or welder.

Working alongside Cagney Edzerza, a Tahltan welder working towards his Red Seal certification, enabled Keenan to ask questions about the welding profession and observe the complex and multi-step welding process. Cagney also prepared pieces of metal to give Keenan a hands-on experience of what is involved.

“The TNDC Shop was a great place to work. I learned a lot about how a mechanical shop operates and how important safety is. But the best part was learning about welding and having the chance to try it. Welding is interesting. There is a lot to know. I would like to come back after I graduate to continue this path.” Keenan says. 

Duncan Olsen is TNDC’s Regional Manager. A Red Seal Heavy Duty Mechanic by trade, who has advanced to leadership roles on major hydro and resource projects during his 30+ year career, says Keenan’s experience is exactly the outcome TNDC is hoping for.

“Keenan is a great kid. He is eager to learn, observant and asks thoughtful questions. We will welcome him back with open arms after graduation to start his career as an apprentice welder under Cagney’s mentorship. Seeing Cagney take Keenan under his wing and sharing the knowledge he is gaining through his own mentorship is the icing on the cake. This is the natural progression we are striving for, Tahltans teaching Tahltans, mentoring the next generation,” Duncan says.

Keenan Joseph, a young Tahltan summer student who worked in TNDC's mechanical shop as a shop labourer and discovered a career in welding.

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