PLUMBING AND HEATING TECHNICIAN
I’m Corporal Peter Bailey from Gibson Woods, Nova Scotia, and I’m a Plumbing and Heating Technician currently posted at CFB Trenton.
And I’m Corporal Kyle Schmidinger, from Bowmanville, Ontario. I’m a Plumbing and Heating Technician currently posted to CFB Kingston.
SCHMIDINGER: Whether you’re in the Regular Force or the Reserve, being a Plumbing and Heating Technician in the Canadian Armed Forces means doing your work wherever you’re needed, whether on base in Canada or on deployment overseas.
BAILEY: We install and maintain both water supply and drainage systems, and we also work with gas-fired and oil-fired heating systems, as well as low-pressure steam.
SCHMIDINGER: You know, it can be anything from a broken tap to a 12-inch water main in the ground. Usually, those ones are more of an emergency call, not a work order, but big projects like that come up, actually quite often, and they’re a lot of fun to work on.
BAILEY: Here in Canada, Plumbing and Heating Technicians are usually assigned to a base and most of our work involves routine in-house maintenance and construction of new facilities.
SCHMIDINGER: First thing in the morning, we’ll come in, sign for a work order, speak with the supervisor, see if anything happened overnight, like a water main break or a no-heat call, or something like that. We’ll scoop up our tool bags, hop in the van, and go to a job.
BAILEY: I’ve had days where I came in and I had to go fix a water line break at a photo lab. And I’ve had other days where I’ve had to do a scouting report for a new washroom that was going to be built. You’re always doing something different and your hands are always on better and new things.
SCHMIDINGER: It’s definitely nice to be able to go in and work on something, stand back, look at the finished product and be proud of it.
SCHMIDINGER: The motto of the Engineers is we’re the first in and the last out. So before other troops can do their jobs, we have to set up the camps and provide the basic needs like water and heat to make things as comfortable as possible.
SCHMIDINGER: There’s nothing more fulfilling than being able to deploy somewhere in the world and being able to actually do your job day-in and day-out. It’s a big sense of accomplishment. It’s your job to support the mission that is ongoing. So whoever is at the pointy end on the deployment, that’s your main focus is to make sure that they have running water and food to eat – all the logistics, everything has to be in place for the mission to be successful.
BAILEY: On large projects, all the trades work together, from the carpenters to the electricians to the plumbers.
BAILEY: You learn other trades: you cross-train. You might go work with a carpenter one day because they need a hand. Guess what? You’re gonna learn. You might go with an electrician one day because he needs help: you’re gonna learn.
SCHMIDINGER: You don’t have to be a qualified Plumber to join us as a Plumbing and Heating Technician. The Canadian Armed Forces will provide all the training you need to become a qualified professional, and they’ll pay you a good salary with great benefits while you’re learning your trade.
SCHMIDINGER: After basic military training, you’ll go to Gagetown, New Brunswick, to the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering.
BAILEY: When you complete your course in Gagetown, you’ll be assigned to a Canadian Armed Forces base for some on-the-job experience. That could mean working with the Army, Air Force or Navy.
SCHMIDINGER: You’re always learning something new. So you have to keep your mind open to new ways of doing things.
SCHMIDINGER: We have a good crew of guys and they’re more than willing to help you out if you show that you want to learn, you show the initiative. Then, yeah, there’s definitely guys that will take you under their wing and help you learn the trade.
SCHMIDINGER: You get to work on so many different things and different projects with different people who have lots of knowledge, and I would say that my most memorable thing so far would be, being able to just tap the knowledge of all the people that I work with in the trade.
BAILEY: I got to a point in my life where I really figured out, you know, a job is one thing but a career is another. So, not until I got in the boots and actually on ground to do things – that’s when it kicked in, that you had a little bit more self-pride, you walked around with more self-esteem. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. This is a career for me and I don’t plan on looking back.