by Heidi Hackman & Colleen McNamee, District Career Coordinators, SD 63 | photo by Kathryn Alvarez Photography –
It may have taken a trade sampler program to do the trick, but Tori Sears has found that being a pipefitter/steamfitter is just the right fit for her. The Saanich School District has two trades samplers in partnership with Camosun College: TASK in the first semester at the Saanichton Learning Centre and TEx in the second semester at Claremont. In her 11th-grade year, Tori participated in a trade sampler program (TEx).
Although the TEx program focused more on plumbing, the Camosun instructors did talk about pipefitting and steamfitting, which peaked Tori’s interest. That was all it took; Tori entered the pipefitting competition and won the bronze medal at the Skills Canada regional competition that year. With her interest and growing confidence in her abilities, she was ready to try working in the industry. Her career teacher, Remo Bussoli, got her a summer work experience at Seaspan so she could see what working in that field was going to be like. Tori “is very grateful for this experience because these trade jobs might not be for everyone and to get to see what it was like before fully committing was very comforting.”
Tori was very committed to her career choice and worked hard. In the second semester of 12th grade, she went back to Seaspan to get the hours she needed to take the pipefitting/steamfitting apprenticeship (Level 1) program starting in May 2023. When asked how she felt about being the youngest in the class, she said: “the instructors made class very welcoming and as well it was nice having a small class of 16 people. I used the resources provided from Camosun for assistance with math and reached out to individual instructors. I appreciated the time instructors took to talk to me and figure out ways to make things work for me.”
The recent Claremont grad loves “the variety in pipefitting down at the Seaspan yard, working on boats such as cruise ships, frigates, fish boats, submarines and more but also working in a shop and fitting on a bench. I have been moved around a few times so far in my time at the yard and it has been very good to help get to know the community of pipefitters in the yard. I also really appreciate my coworkers; they are a lovely group of people who will always take the time to show, teach or help me with new things.”
Tori’s mom Tanis has supported her daughter along her journey. She is quick to say: “the truth is this is 100% Tori’s journey. A journey that has been lined with people that care and are supportive and have made Tori feel like she is part of a family. A perfect fit for sure.” Good luck to Tori and congratulations to her for following her own path towards a successful career.