Robert Pereira-Tomé, a PEC Electricity graduate from 2013, is rightfully proud of his newly acquired Electrician’s license. He encountered a few bumps along the road to becoming a fully licensed electrician, including taking longer than he expected. The setbacks did not deter him, however.
Choosing a trade
In 2012, he was doing delivery and installation of audio systems for his employer, Central Audio and Video. One day during a delivery, he ended up chatting with some electricians doing an installation for a home theatre system. Watching them “do their thing” piqued his interest. He thought to himself, “if it wasn’t for Electricians, the home theatre wouldn’t happen.”
When working for Central, Robert had Lester B Pearson schools as clients (for TVs, cameras, etc) so he knew that the Electricity program was offered at PEC. Living in LaSalle, Robert appreciated both the proximity of the centre and the fact that the course was tuition-free. He was able to keep working while going to school.
Not only did Robert enroll in his dream program, but he also credits his teachers, Normand Lapierre and JC, who helped him develop a passion for Electricity. Teacher Serge Frechette piqued his interest in terms of the technical aspects of electricity.
How long to get fully licensed?
Robert worked for a small service company right out of school. This was beneficial to his experience because doing service calls allowed him to touch nearly every aspect of his trade. He stayed at this company, despite not getting many hours towards his license. He felt a sense of loyalty because they hired him straight out of school. After a few years, he knew that he needed to make a move if he wanted to get enough hours to write his license exam. He moved to a medium-sized company.
Determination pays off
By 2019 he had accumulated enough hours, and he signed up to write the Electricity exam. He failed on the first try. Robert was frustrated but did not give up. The exam questions that stumped him involved motors and transformers. He would focus on brushing up on these topics for the exam retake. The first retake was cancelled due to Covid. It was cancelled a second time, also due to Covid. These cancellations meant that Robert missed out on a year’s worth of full electrician’s pay. He was not deterred, however. He was determined to pass the exam. This spring he passed his retake exam.
Robert works at Marchand Entrepreneur Electricien. Robert has been there 5 years, and has a full-time, permanent job. The pandemic affected Robert’s working hours since Covid closed down job sites. He’s happy that things are reopening and he’s back to full-time hours.
Since graduating, Robert has often recalled and followed some key advice he received from his teacher Mohammed Klileche. Mohammed told Robert that there are 3 keys to succeeding:
- Having a strong work ethic,
- Building a professional reputation,
- Making a name for yourself at work.
This advice has served Robert well since he graduated. At work, he became proficient in installing fire alarm systems. Fire alarms are something that many electricians are hesitant to work given the potential for devastating consequences if something goes wrong. He took on the challenge and is happy that his employer can count on his expertise. As Robert said, “the better your reputation, the more likely you’ll get called for contracts.”
Advice for future students:
Robert was quick to answer when asked what advice he’d give future students. “Look into the trades right out of high school! Nobody spoke to me about trades in high school.” Robert’s parents wanted him to go into a trade, but guidance counsellors steered him towards CEGEP. He was strong in history and teachers thought he’d be a good teacher. He spent one year at Dawson and left. He then got a job at McDonald’s, where he eventually became a manager. During this time, he knew that his heart was elsewhere. And that’s when he applied for the Electricity program.
We congratulate Robert on his determination and success. His hard work has paid off.