Electrician uses George Brown courses to jump-start his Canadian career
When Jan Goudswaard arrived in Canada (from the Netherlands) more than 15 years ago, his goal was to get his electrician’s license. So Jan, already an electrician in his homeland, decided to take the Industrial Pre-exam course through Continuing Education at George Brown in order to prepare to write the Canadian Industrial Electrician license exam. He was able to achieve that goal – though it turned out to be a longer process than he expected.
“I took the course, but wasn’t able to write the test because I did not have my immigration documentation yet,” he says. “It took a while to get that, so I had to take the course again. But, that time, I was able to write the test and get my license.”
Once he had his license, Jan started the programmable controllers courses (now called Allen-Bradley PLC I, Allen-Bradley PLC II and Motor Control Basics) offered through Continuing Education at George Brown College. Although he was then also working full-time for a moving company, completing the courses was a priority for him.
“I knew the courses were a must to get a job in the electrical industry,” Jan says.
But his decision to take those courses turned out to be even more significant than he could have anticipated.
“My instructor recommended me for a job as a Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) support specialist with the company he worked for during the day, and I was hired in 1996,” he recalls. “That job was my “in” with the automation industry.”
Jan’s time at Trade Electric afforded him the opportunity to learn more about Allen Bradley PLCs (the industry standard) and software. His success on the job, coupled with his experience as an electrician, also made Jan an ideal candidate to become an instructor at George Brown College. He accepted a part-time teaching position at the school 12 years ago – and put what he was learning at Trade Electric to good use.
“I travelled to the United States many times to upgrade my skills with all the new products from Allen Bradley, which was extremely useful for my teaching position with George Brown.”
Making a change
But Jan wasn’t content to rest on his impressive laurels. After nine years at Trade Electric, the then 38-year-old accepted a new job at Cadbury Chocolate, his current employer. As an Electrical Supervisor, Jan is responsible for a team of eight electricians and is still very involved with industrial automation. Better yet, his current position provides him with a wealth of practical information and examples that he can relay to his students.
In fact, George Brown students have benefitted in a big way from Jan’s experience. His Allen-Bradley expertise allowed him to completely renew and modernize the Programmable Logic Controllers (Allen-Bradley) Certificate that is currently offered.
Jan attributes his career success to the decision he made, shortly after arriving in Canada, to enroll in the PLC courses.
“The PLC courses got me where I am today,” he says. “They opened the door to my nine years as a PLC specialist at a distributor, which allowed me to meet people in the industry and to acquire a wealth of knowledge in the industrial automation industry.”
Looking back at all of his experiences with Continuing Education, Jan is quick to sing the praises of the College.
“The school has played a big part in my professional life since my arrival in Canada and will continue to do so,” he says. “I’m very happy at George Brown – and very happy with George Brown.”