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12.19.16 / Community

Tilbury LNG expansion provides a valuable training ground for apprentices

Young women aren’t always encouraged to enter the trades, but Samantha Ethier was lucky: her brother-in-law is a foreman with a scaffolding company and he knew the athletic young woman could build scaffolding with the best of them.

She’s been a scaffolding apprentice for a few years now, making temporary structures to support construction work crews. It’s a very physical and demanding job, but she appreciates the challenge. 

“That first year I worked with some amazing journeymen and learned a lot. When I began building scaffolding, I realized I loved it… I’m shorter than the average scaffolder, and not quite as strong... so it’s been really helpful to have mentors show me how I can do things comfortably and safely.” 

Samantha has worked as an apprentice scaffolder on the Tilbury LNG Expansion project, which has provided significant employment and economic benefits for workers and businesses in Delta and neighbouring communities. 

More than 140 local companies have been contracted and more than 870 tradespeople are registered for work on the project, with 60 apprentices working on site. Samantha is glad she’s one of them, because it’s been a great place to learn her trade safely. 

This has been one of the most supportive learning environments I’ve ever experienced.

Samantha Ethier Scaffolding apprentice working on FortisBC’s Tilbury LNG Expansion project

The buddy system used at the Tilbury LNG site helps apprentices fine-tune their skills quickly, and it’s an important worksite safety practice.

“The buddy system goes beyond our own crew,” Samantha says. “Everyone looks out for everyone.” 

Samantha has nearly completed her apprenticeship and will soon get her scaffolding journeyperson ticket. She’s looking forward to giving back, giving apprentices the kind of mentorship she received during the Tilbury LNG Expansion project. 

“I love teaching,” she says. “Learning is supposed to be fun—if you have good mentors like I’ve had, then it’s easier.”

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