Sister Story: Samantha Rallison

October 23, 2023

Local 276 (Victoria, British Columbia) apprentice Samantha Rallison has been a union sheet metal worker for only a few months – but she says she’s already shocked by the “endless number of things to be learned and created” in the trade. Learn more in her sister story:

What unique strengths do you bring to your trade?

I believe I bring a respectful and positive attitude to my trade everyday, as well as a new perspective. I’m always asking questions to help further my learning – and sometimes even the journeymen I work with aren’t sure of the answer, so we both end up learning something new.

What do you love to do when you are not at work?

I love to play soccer, go camping and backpacking, as well as explore more of the beautiful island I live on – Vancouver Island.

Goals in the future — any ambitions or changes to your career, growth or education?

My first goal is to get my Red Seal in sheet metal. After that I hope to share my knowledge with other tradespeople. Once I’ve done that, I plan to further my career – whether through more education related to sheet metal or seeing if there’s any business opportunities with my friends/family in the trade.

What surprised you about your trade?

The most surprising aspect of sheet metal is the endless number of things to be learned and created. We get to work with so many different materials, equipment and tools. There are so many different routes you can take in the sheet metal trade, such as roofing, stainless countertops, HVAC, custom car parts, ship building – the possibilities seem to be endless.

What do you find frustrating about your job/trade?

I find the occasional repetitive work to be the most difficult/frustrating in sheet metal; for example, having stacks on stacks of metal to deburr. I am very grateful that not a lot of the work ends up being repetitive, but some days it can be, and I just have to remind myself to take micro breaks to keep my mind focused and to give my body a break.

How did you get into SMART?

I got into SMART through word of mouth. Everyone I have talked to in my union has had positive experiences and suggested it to me. 

Tool you can’t live without?

The tool I can’t live without is a grinder for deburring and cutting! It saves me so much time for awkward cuts in thicker metal, and it helps me avoid cutting my hands on the metal after it’s been sanded.

Best advice you got as an apprentice?

The best advice I’ve gotten as an apprentice is to ask lots of questions. Almost every person I’ve worked with has told me there’s no such thing as a dumb question. It has given me the opportunity to be supported and taught by many journeypersons.

What do you think about Tradeswomen Build Nations?

I think Tradeswoman Build Nations is an excellent opportunity to meet other likeminded tradeswomen, to encourage more diversity in trades and to learn/teach others around you.

Are you active in trade-related activities such as career fairs, volunteer work or SMART Army events?

I currently am not in any trade-related activities as I have just joined the union three months ago, but I have already applied and plan to attend more events.