Each month South Muskoka Doppler highlights a student in the co-op programs at both Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School (BMLSS) and Gravenhurst High School (GHS).
This month’s student of the month for GHS, brought to you by Stevenson Plumbing-Electrical-HVAC is Leland Whipp. Leland is apprenticing as a plumber at Gravenhurst Plumbing Heating & Electric.
“I chose it because I did a previous co-op at GPHE and I really enjoyed it,” says Leland. “Before I did that co-op, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as a career. That opportunity allowed me to find what I love to do.”
Leland says the primary reason he got into plumbing is that his father is a plumber and he wanted to test it out as a career.
“I got to have experience in the field with him doing side jobs, and that peaked my interest in the trades. I had a lot more understanding doing plumbing compared to the other trades because of what I had learned with my dad,” he says. “My first co-op had me trying out plumbing, electrician and HVAC, and I definitely liked plumbing the best of all of them so I took co-op again and am focused on just plumbing this time.”
Leland says as a co-op student, he performs duties both on the service and construction sides of things, depending on how they are booked onto a job.
“This means I get a full experience of every aspect of plumbing, from new builds and renovations to repairs, ” he says. “My favourite part is the construction part because at the end of the day you can look back and see what’s changed from where we started to where it’s at by the end. It’s usually a lot less messy.”
Leland says he’s trained on how to use the tools safely and someone is always around to make sure that he’s learning how to develop his skills properly.
“My favourite thing to do is soldering. When I heat up the copper pipe to melt the solder paste onto the fitting so that it seals and won’t leak when the pipe is in use,” he says.
Leland says he’d like to continue pursuing a plumbing career.
“I’ve just signed on as an Ontario Youth Apprentice where I’m officially working toward my skill competencies in the career path and the hours I earn at my high school co-op placements also count toward the hours I need for the trade,” he says. “I’ll be able to go straight into trade school and paid apprenticeship placements as soon as I graduate from Gravenhurst High School in June. When I complete my red seal, I see myself working in houses and cottages around Muskoka because I’ve done more work in those types of buildings than in commercial or industrial settings. There seems to be a lot more work available in residential plumbing, so I think that’s where my career will take me.”
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