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Success Story: Chevy Balzer

Aug 6, 2015

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Chevy Balzer is a client at the GDI Aboriginal Apprenticeship Project since October 2014. He was indentured with the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trades Certification Commission in March as a Year I apprentice Automotive Service Technician. Chevy works at the Bridge City Transmission Ltd, a locally owned business that has been operating in Saskatoon since 1986 and a winner of the 2012 and 2013 “Consumer Choice” Awards.

Chevy says that ever since he was a little boy, he has always wanted to work on cars. He graduated from high school in 2010 and completed a pre-employment Automotive Service Technician program at SIAST (Saskatchewan Polytechnic) in 2013. The pre-employment training was paid for by Chevy’s grandparents and his student line of credit.

Before coming to the Gabriel Dumont Institute, Chevy worked at an auto-shop. However, he was not satisfied with being an employee and wanted to join an apprenticeship program so that his skills and hours to count towards to a journeyperson certification. A family member then told him that as Métis, he could get help at Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI).

Chevy contacted GDI and soon after got a placement with Bridge City Transmission through the Western Economic Diversification-funded GDI Aboriginal Apprenticeship Project. Chevy works closely with Audrey Arcand, an Employment Counsellor at the GDI Training and Employment.

Chevy says he enjoys working at Bridge City. “Everyone is encouraging and welcoming and Wilf treats me like everyone else. He checks on me to see if there are problems.” Wilf Baier is the owner and manager of Bridge City Transmission. Chevy asserts that “I love this line of work. I will keep going with it till I get my Red Seal certification.” When asked what he liked most about the apprenticeship program, Chevy said, “Having a counsellor who is always helpful makes me feel that I can do this.” He continues, “It is good to have a Métis organization (like) GDI that is giving me support and encouragement … Thanks a lot GDI for the opportunity to (enable me to) do what I love, and for having faith in me.” He has recommended the apprenticeship project to friends and relatives, some of whom have joined the program.

Wilf noted that, “I have been in this business for over 35 years. One thing is for sure, Chevy has a positive attitude, is motivated to learn, and is a great worker.” Wilf described the partnership with GDI as “a win-win situation.” He continues, “They (GDI) gives us wage subsidies that enable me to keep Chevy here (and) are always there for Chevy and to answer my questions.” Bridge City Transmission Ltd has five full time employees.

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Gabriel Dumont Institue

GDI is a Saskatchewan-based educational, employment and cultural institute serving Métis across the province

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