Ryan McKinnon was born to be an instructor. With a long line of instructors in his family, teaching seemed to be ingrained in him. “I knew I wanted to teach; it’s in my blood.” Currently, Ryan is an Entry Level Trades Training (ELTT) instructor, teaching technical training at the Electrical Joint Training Committee (EJTC). However, Ryan’s story didn’t start with teaching.
Ryan started his electrical apprenticeship at the EJTC in 2008. He was a part of Kelly Kienleitner’s (a now seasoned and incredible teacher at the EJTC) first class. “I was in the field for about 12 years. I started in HVAC working with controls for a small electrical company, then moved to Houle, a larger company, to work in their data division.”
Unfortunately, Ryan got into a severe car accident that did not allow his body to stand up to the riggers of the job. “It was then that I realized I needed to find something else I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
Knowing that teaching is in his blood, Ryan reached out to his first instructor Kelly, “she told me there was a teaching position opening at the EJTC. I quickly applied, got the job, and have not looked back!”
Ryan has worked at the EJTC for three years and enjoys every moment. The ELTT program is basically equivalent to the first year of electrical. Ryan spends half the day (3hrs) teaching his students technical training in the classroom, and the rest of the school day is spent in the shop atmosphere where the students practice their “hands-on” application of the electrical industry.
“I really enjoy teaching the shop portion of the class. Everything they learn is essential, although the shop portion of the curriculum will help the students succeed in the field. That’s my time to show the students how to do the work they will be doing and hone their skills before we send them into the workforce.”
Ryan has been teaching an Alternative Pathway (AP) class once a year. These classes are entirely made up of Indigenous students. Many of these students come from complex backgrounds and need some core building blocks for the trade. “It’s been incredible breaking down barriers and building strong relationships with these classes. I am there to help them succeed, and I want to ensure they can trust me with that. Overall, it’s been a great learning experience for the students and me. Recently, every student passed our latest AP class; it was a proud moment!”
Ryan looks forward to continuing his teaching journey at the EJTC and is always looking for the next opportunity that he too can learn and absorb from his students.
Written by: Savannah Davis, ClearWater Communications Co.