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Interview with Bill Rankin, Applications Manager, Thomas Skinner & Son Ltd.

Contributed by Thomas Skinner


What made you decide to pursue a career in the skilled trades?

I went into machining immediately after completing my mechanical engineering technology diploma. After spending years in the machining business in various industries, it became very clear to me the importance of earning a Red Seal Certification and this became my next career objective.   My reasoning is that it provides validated accreditation as your journeyman classification is learned and tested  before a regulated nation wide board.  This differs vastly compared to most other training programs, which award full accreditation upon graduation.


What field do you work in and what do you enjoy the most about your job?

I work as an Applications Manager supporting the CNC machining industry for Thomas Skinner, the largest supplier of machine tools and machining in the west. My job allows me to work with the best machines while supporting customers across western Canada. I really enjoy the aspect of working with precision metal working machinery in the environment machining provides.


What skills are required to be successful in this field?

1.      Take ownership of everything you do.

2.      Always look for opportunities to learn.

3.      Be eager to accept challenges.

4.      Understand and have pride in your craftsmanship.


Do you have any mentors or people that have encouraged and inspired you throughout your career?

My drive for success is inspired by my life goal to be successful in a career that I love.  My family is my personal inspiration.


What advice would you give to youth who are looking to pursue a career in the skilled trades?

Take the time to thoroughly investigate your options.  You are making a decision that will greatly impact your life so be sure to be well informed about your options and the job market.  You should also spend time in the field – perhaps working part time and certainly talk to lots of people who work in that field.  Be sure your career choice aligns with your life goals and interests.

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