Manufacturing apprentice shares his success story.
Apprentice: Tristan Chicoine
Location: Wire Belt Company of America in Londonderry, NH
Community College: Nashua Community College
Tristan is an apprentice participating in the ApprenticeshipNH program at Wire Belt in Londonderry. He is a CNC operator apprentice at the company and is working towards the completion of an apprenticeship that consists of 527 hours of classroom instruction through Nashua Community College (NCC) plus two years of paid on-the-job training. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, participants will have earned 20 credits toward the Precision Manufacturing CNC Operator Certificate at NCC.
Tristan recently sat down with us to tell us a bit more about what their apprenticeship experience has been like thus far.
What made you decide to join the ApprenticeshipNH program?
Tristan: I decided to join the program because it seemed like a great opportunity for me. I was already enrolled in the Precision Manufacturing program at Nashua Community College and being an apprentice would allow me to get some financial help with paying for my education. I had also done an internship at Wire Belt when I was in high school, and since then have bounced around a lot between different manufacturing jobs. I have been hoping for a long time to find a career, and this really seemed like a great opportunity to get my foot in the door.
What have you found to be most helpful during your apprenticeship experience?
Tristan: The on-the-job training that I do at Wire Belt has given me an advantage in my classes at Nashua Community College, which I really like. I am one of a few people in the program who has machining experience which helps me stay ahead and allows me to help other people in the class. I also appreciate how everything I learn in class provides me with a new skillset that makes me that much faster and efficient when I’m working on-the-job.
What kinds of qualities do you think it takes to be successful in the ApprenticeshipNH program?
Tristan: Perseverance – you can get discouraged when it feels like it gets hard. I don’t think people realize how much work goes into an apprenticeship.
Why did you choose this career path? What inspired you?
Tristan: When I was in high school I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after graduating. My junior year of high school I was giving an opportunity to go to Manchester School of Technology; they presented a video to students with all the Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs they offered, and manufacturing stuck out to me as something that would be interesting. I learned a lot in my CTE classes, but I think it was such an amazing program because you get to learn real skills for a career that you might not get to learn in a regular high school class. One thing I really like about manufacturing is that there’s endless opportunities to learn – you can get a point where you think you know everything, but there are still new things to learn.
What have you learned about yourself as apprentices and what advice would you give to others?
Tristan: I learned to have a lot more determination than I did when I first started the program. I was skeptical and got discouraged easily, and now I still make mistakes, but I don’t make them as often. I learned to have more patience with myself – I might not be as fast as the other people who have been working in the industry for 40 years, but I’ll get there eventually. My advice to someone else would be to stay open-minded. There are so many opportunities out there and it might take a little while for you to figure out what you like. You should experiment, but when you find something that you are good at stick with it.
If you could describe your experience in the ApprenticeshipNH program in one word, what would it be?
Tristan: Amazing. It’s been amazing to have been given this opportunity. The day that Dave from Wire Belt called me to offer me the job was life changing.