Hello Everyone! First time poster here with a few questions. I will try to keep it short!
Pilot here looking to switch careers. I have always had an interest larger equipment/fixing things. I spent a lot of time on the farm when I was younger just watching my grandfather work on his machines. I love trucks. Have a few
Truckers in the family. When I ask my self what would appeal to my as a second career, I like to think a Truck Mechanic does the most (and all the hard work that comes a long with it).
The pandemic was a bit of an eye opener for me being in the aviation industry. It really made me realize how vulnerable my career as a pilot can be. On top of that, ever since I had kids I find sitting in hotels to be wasted time, time that I could be with the ones I love. Being away weeks on end can certainly take its toll (my priorities in life are changing).
So here I am just trying to do as much research as possible. I thought reaching out on a forum would help, and I thank you all in advance for the feedback!
I am in Ontario, Canada so this is more geared to those in the know for the 310T apprenticeship.
- What is the likelihood of someone with no experience or college certificate actually securing an apprenticeship (specifically Ontario, but Canada in general)? With kids at home I would like to find an apprenticeship first and get to work right away, and focus on schooling/theory second. But is this realistic? Are there employers out there that will take a chance on people with no schooling/experience these days?
- Is there a demand for Truck/Coach Mechanics in Canada?
- What does the average salary look like for a fully licensed mechanic?
- Do you enjoy/love your job? What is the most enjoyable part about going to work?
- For any of you second career guys/girls…what was it that made you make the jump into this career?
Any information is appreciated. Thank you in advance for any insight and advice!!
Canadian Truck/Coach Apprenticeship Advice
My son spent a year working on Snowcats in NW Ontario after taking heavy equipment course. He was offered apprenticeship but declined and returned to his other trade. There is huge demand for 310T and the few guys I knew who were dedicated workers got offered apprenticeships.
I can't answer to specifics of the Ontario apprenticeship program since I'm out in Alberta.
Typically you would work for about a year to get enough hours to take your first block of schooling (typically around 1500 hours and then about 2 months in school).
Definitely a demand for good mechanics. At the start of covid the dealer laid a couple hundred of us off (union so they cut everyone under 10 years seniority, I had 5). I was back on the wrenches for a new outfit about a month and a half after I started the job search. I actually turned down a couple offers that didn't really turn my crank.
Pay is pretty good. Most shops are around $35-$45/hour for a Red Seal journeyman. If you are willing to chase the work and go work in remote areas I've seen hourly pay push $60/hr plus living allowances on top of that.
For the most part I enjoy the job. I've tinkered with cars and trucks all my life so it was pretty much a given that I'd pursue it. I don't really work much on trucks these days besides my own. I've kind of moved into specializing in hydraulics and really niche stuff like that. I've actually just picked up a welding apprenticeship recently so I'm branching out into fabrication a bit too.
There's a lot of opportunities in skilled labour that they never tell you about in school. Be on time, listen to the folks mentoring you, be willing to tackle any job they throw at you and you'll do well.
The biggest drawback to wrenching is buying tools. Avoid the tool truck as much as possible for the basic stuff like wrenches, sockets etc. Buy good quality air tools right out of the gate though. I bought cheap ones from Canadian Tire when starting out and within 6 months I was forking out $$$$ for IR and CP.