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David Westercamp, Shop Lead at Carefree RV, Explains the Value of Apprenticeships 

My career in the skilled trades started back in grade 10. We had a program called a Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) which allowed me to try a couple of different trades. RAP allowed me to gain both job experience and class time. After getting a taste of working in this field, I was able to fast track my grade 11 and 12 studies in half a year and worked the other half of the school year in the dealership. Every hour I worked contributed to high school credits. The program provides valuable trade experience while still in high school, setting students up for success in their chosen career path. 

Having a trade certification is invaluable. It provides a solid foundation. Even if you venture into entrepreneurship, your skills will stay with you forever. As the shop lead, I oversee everything related to the “house side” of a motorhome. Each day brings a mix of tasks, from fixing plumbing systems, to aligning cabinets, and redoing floors. The work is diverse and challenging, yet very rewarding. 

In addition, mentoring is a big part of my role as the shop lead. With years of experience under my belt, I’m often the go-to person for advice or guidance, whether it’s troubleshooting a complex issue or providing directions on a repair. While apprentices typically start by working with our shop foreman, they often come to me for insights or solutions.  For me, it’s about giving back and sharing the knowledge I’ve gained throughout my career. I think if you’ve learned something valuable, it’s important to pass it on. I believe it’s a positive practice that benefits both the mentor and the mentee. 

The recreational vehicle (RV) industry is always pushing the boundaries of innovation. As a technician, I’m constantly challenged to stay up to date with the latest advancements. What’s fascinating is seeing technology in motorhomes today that won’t be commonplace in traditional homes for another decade. It’s like living in the future! Even as I watch videos showcasing new home upgrades, I often find myself thinking, “I’ve seen that in a motorhome years ago!” The learning curve is steep, but that’s what makes this trade so exciting. There’s always something new to discover and master. 


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