An Employer’s Perspective
Brian Pelletier works for the IUOE Local 793 / OETIO as their Aboriginal Coordinator since April 2013. Prior to this, Brian worked for the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Board of Ontario (AABO) for a number of years after retiring from the Federal Government of Canada where he spent 33 years. The primary focus over Brian’s career is supporting Aboriginal human resources development and he continues to work to link the Aboriginal supply with the construction demand for the heavy equipment and crane operator industry. Brian is a member of the Serpent River First Nation and has a wife and five children with a couple of grandchildren.
It has been my experience (within the Heavy Equipment and Crane Operator industry) that employers are looking for the ‘best of the best’ and appreciate workers who have the following attributes in order to be hired: Attitude – employers want people with a
good attitude, i.e. a person who is willing to listen and learn the employers’ way of doing things, get along with colleagues, support a positive work environment and work safe.
Good work ethic – the employer is paying their employees good wages coupled with pensions and health benefits for the skill
of operating a piece of very expensive machinery.
Show up and on time – it must be understood that operators in the heavy equipment and crane industry support many other workers on a job site. Should the operator not show up on time or not show up at all, many other skilled workers stand around waiting, e.g. excavator operator filling dump trucks with material … no operator, trucks do not get filled and do not hul off material; crane operator on a high rise building… no operator, material does not get hoisted. There are many other workers who rely on machinery to be operating for them to make their living. The above are just two examples.
A company in the construction industry must stay on schedule and budget in order to remain viable and stay in business. It is important for potential workers in the construction industry to be able to demonstrate to a construction company that they have a good attitude, good work ethic and the importance of showing up and on time.
Working safe is critical. IN PARTICULAR, ‘WHAT IS IT THAT SCREENS OUT POTENTIAL NATIVE EMPLOYEES IN THE HIRING PROCESS’? The Heavy Equipment and Crane Operator industry, when reviewing potential recruits, look for people with the training
credentials from recognized training institutions.
Aboriginal people are also a training priority for IUOE/OETIO and receive the exact same training as IUOE Local 793 members.
WHY DO NATIVE PEOPLE HAVE DIFFICULTY WITH THE ‘SITUATION QUESTIONS’? The situation questions asked during an
interview usually rely on drawing out a person’s work experience related to a work situation for a particular industry. Should
a person have limited work experience, it would be challenging to offer an appropriate response.
We know that education is important, but even those who are successful in completing education then have difficulty in getting the job, so we are trying to clarify what things are causing problems, with the idea of making the criteria better known in our community.
I have heard time and again the importance of the need for employers to benefit from an Aboriginal Awareness Session. This is true. However it is just as important for Aboriginal people to benefit from a Non-Aboriginal Awareness Session to better prepare them for employment in mainstream.