Where do you go when you have a career goal?
Henry Heide had worked for many years as a mechanic in the Aylmer area. While he had the hands-on skills and knowledge necessary to work as a mechanic, he did not meet the educational requirements to become licensed. After some encouragement from his boss’s wife, Linda Loewen, he decided that he wanted to pursue getting his license as a Diesel Mechanic. At the time, he did not know everything that would be involved in that process, but a starting place was to work towards his GED/Grade 12.
Linda steered Henry to a Fanshawe College academic upgrading night class, where he met MCS Employment Services Manager, Susan Loewen. Susan also works as a Fanshawe Instructor for these upgrading classes and was Henry’s instructor. Starting in Spring of 2017, Henry diligently worked on upgrading his reading, writing and math skills and began exploring the process that would lead him to being able to write the mechanic apprenticeship exam.
In most instances, to be registered as a Mechanic Apprentice and begin the licensing process, an individual is required to have a Grade 12 or GED level of education. Henry had some schooling, but had not gone to school consistently every year when he was younger, and had ended his formal schooling in the middle of Grade 8 at a private school in Dresden.
Henry was now busy with work and with being a husband and father of three boys, but he was determined that being a licensed mechanic was his career of choice.
With Susan’s help as an MCS employment consultant, Henry learned that, because of his work experience, he could “challenge,” or write, the mechanic apprenticeship exam without going through 4 years of apprenticeship. This would help Henry demonstrate his skills and abilities to obtain his license while saving him years of time and money.
Susan walked alongside Henry in the process of challenging the exam, helping him prepare the in-depth resume required for the application, with confirmation from previous employers of hours of work completed in the field. She also helped him complete the online application for the exam. Because Susan can provide services in Low German, she was able to help explain some mechanical and technical terms, helping Henry match up terms with the knowledge he already had, so that he could write the exam for the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
Henry made 3 attempts at the challenge exam, but did not pass each time. Susan helped him research different colleges, and he decided to enroll in a preparation course at the Ontario College of Trades that was specific to writing and passing the exam for the Diesel Mechanic. Henry completed the course and wrote the challenge exam again.
On his fourth attempt, he passed the Certificate of Qualifications exam on July 17, 2018!
With his hard-earned certification, Henry was now able to obtain work as a fully licensed Diesel Mechanic. After working for other mechanic shops, Henry and his family decided that it was time for him to open his own shop. Henry he is now the owner operator of Heide Truck Services in Aylmer, running out of 40 Beech St. His wife Anna, who recently worked for MCS in the FESPA program, is taking on the role of administrative assistant and bookkeeper with a sister-in-law, Tina Heide.
Henry is an inspiration to those who might feel that they are not able to accomplish their dreams. He overcame challenges and fears but his determination and vision did not diminish and he can now be a leader and mentor to others. When asked what pushed him towards making his license, Henry says, “When your wife asks you what your dream is every single day, eventually you figure out that you have a dream.” With encouragement and access to community services, Henry’s dream of becoming a licensed Diesel Mechanic came to fruition.
Many newcomers have career aspirations that, when surrounded by a community of support and connected to the right services, they are able to achieve!