Joseph Cardinal is a talented person with a powerful love for his Indigenous culture and the relationships he has fostered. He grew up in Alberta, grooming and training horses. After some time, Joseph was in search of a change of pace. He packed his bags and moved to Vancouver, BC, leading him to the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS).
ACCESS is an organization that provides employment and training program services to Indigenous people while helping them overcome employment barriers and find rewarding career opportunities. ACCESS works with its students to make sure they succeed.
With the support of ACCESS, Joseph began working as a plumber and a pipe fitter at the Squamish Nation Trade School until the electrical course at the Electrical Joint Training Committee (EJTC) began. “I’ve always had a huge interest in Thunder beings and Thunderbirds as it’s a part of my culture. So, I thought the best fit for me would be to work with electricity”.
Joseph is now in his 3rd year of apprenticeship at the EJTC and loves the technical side of the trade. “I look forward to completing school and seeing how many hours I have worked! I put a lot of time into my work. It’s important for me not to give up.”
Joseph is grateful for his many great mentors and strong connections throughout his training. “I learned a lot from my mentors on the job. I learned the discipline of the trade, how to train people and how to be direct. I had a great time working with ACCESS. The staff are people I can talk to. They are people I have made a bond, connection, and kinship, and I know they are looking out for me like a nephew or a son. They are people who genuinely want to see the best for me; sometimes, I find that hard to find. The EJTC is great for that too. They have Indigenous teachers who have been in the industry for years, know what to expect, and support you through your journey into the electrical world.”
Written by: Savannah Davis, ClearWater Communications Co.