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Mar 5 2020

From summer student to millwright apprentice

Posted by TC Energy



From summer student to millwright apprentice

Some people might say that if you work at a large company, it’s easier to become lost in the crowd – but for Anthony Crowshoe, his experience working at the Airdrie office was more of a small company feel.

When he got the news last month that he had been accepted into the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology’s (SAIT) millwright apprenticeship program starting in May, he had lots of Rocky Mountain Region colleagues he considers friends and mentors to celebrate with and share the good news.

Growing up on the Piikani reservation in southern Alberta, I really didn’t know anything about the trades. When I was introduced to the trades through my work with the equipment repairs team, I realized it was something I could be interested in since I’ve grown up helping fix a variety of farm equipment on my grandparents’ ranch.”

Anthony Crowshoe
TC Energy employee

After graduating high school in Calgary, Anthony played football on a scholarship at a school in the U.S., then transferred back to the University of Calgary. Due to the positive influence of his uncles who are U.S. military veterans, he considered enlisting in the military, while trying to figure out his own path.

Then in 2017, Patricia Poulton, an Indigenous relations liaison who has worked at the company for 25 years, offered him a summer student position.

“I’ve seen Anthony grow up since he was young, running around at the Calgary Stampede while I was volunteering. His family would camp at the Elbow River Camp every year,” says Patricia. “We saw an opportunity in Anthony, who is a young man, intelligent and wanting to get ahead in life.”

Mentorship at the company

Patricia also considers Anthony’s grandfather, Reg Crowshoe, a personal friend and her own mentor.

“When I first started working on the Indigenous relations team 20 years ago, I really didn’t know anything about the culture,” says Patricia.

“Reg was providing Indigenous relations and cultural awareness training to employees, and I learned to appreciate the culture and work with Indigenous groups through him. I consider his mentorship and guidance over these past decades my own ‘degree’ in Indigenous relations.”

This inter-generational mentorship continued as Patricia has been one of Anthony’s biggest supporters at the Airdrie office over the past few years after his summer job turned into a full-time position.

Two years ago, his supervisor Yvon Begin asked if he was interested in going back to school and becoming a journeyman through an apprenticeship with the company. With Patricia’s support, he did an occupational assessment of his strengths and weaknesses through SAIT, narrowed down his interests to millwright – installing, maintaining and repairing industrial equipment – and determined the courses required for the program.

On the path to success

Last year, Anthony started working part time in the day, while taking two classes in the evening to complete the required courses before applying for the program at SAIT.

I am very impressed and very proud of Anthony because he has had the patience and courage to go through the process to figure out his pathway. We want to bring in more Indigenous people to work for the company, so we are really happy that we had the opportunity to work with Anthony, drawing on his interests and skills to find the best fit for him in the company.”

Patricia Poulton
Indigenous relations liaison

For Anthony, becoming a journeyman presents the opportunity to embark on a long-term career.

“I’m excited to start my first year at SAIT, which I’ve been working towards since last year,” he says. And while he says he wishes that he had considered a career in the trades earlier in life, he reminds himself of some wisdom his grandpa shared with him.

Anthony says, “My grandpa would say to me, ‘All these obstacles you’ve endured made you who you are today, so be thankful for those experiences.”

More information

Learn more about working at TC Energy or visit the Indigenous section of our website for more information on our approach to working with Indigenous groups.