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Kaylea Frye

Full speech of Kaylea Frye during the 25th Anniversary Kick off of CAREERS: Co-Op Apprenticeship Program held at Keyano College, Fort McMurray, AB on August 9, 2016.

"Good afternoon.  My name is Kaylea Frye and I was invited here today to speak on behalf of Syncrude Canada.  The 25th anniversary of the program marks a very impressive and successful time in the lives of many people.  As an apprentice going through the program myself, I would like to take this time to thank the CAREERS: The Next Generation program coordinators, the participating companies and our community. Without everyone’s continued support and encouragement, the program and its apprentices would not be the success it is today.

My experience as both a past RAP and present Co-Op student has been overwhelmingly positive.  I can’t express in words how fortunate I feel to be involved in a program that not only allows me to grow in to the tradeswoman I’ve always wanted to be, but also gives me a chance to build lifelong relationships with the companies, my mentors and fellow students I’ve met in my career.

I know that for myself and many other apprentices our lives have been impacted in such a positive way by this program that we will carry a sense of support and pride that will stay with us long after we graduate from the program.

Although everyone involved does everything they can to make this experience as easy as possible, being an apprentice this young does have its challenges. For example, we still have to wake up at 5a.m.

All joking aside, we still face our own challenges.  It can be intimidating going to a new workplace.  New faces, new routines and new environments are just a few of the hurdles we have to overcome.  Despite these challenges we are still able to succeed in our journeys towards our tickets.  We can’t do it alone though.  In my personal experience I’ve found that building a strong support system of friends, family and workmates makes these problems much easier to face.  Of course like anything in life a good attitude and a goal to keep you on track are what really allow you to offer the most to your crew, your leaders, and yourself.

Co-Op gives young men and women the chance to prove that they can be responsible, and also get a head start on their lives.  Not many young adults can say that at 18, 19 or even 20 years old they’re well on their way to getting a journeyman’s ticket.

Working for Syncrude the past year has been an amazing experience.  From day one I loved my job and everyone I worked with.  My mentors and team lead were all very supportive and right away I felt like a part of the team.  Spending 6 days at a time with the same group of people makes it easy to feel like you’re part of a small family.  I learned so much in my time at Syncrude and I’m thankful every day for the chance that I was given to make a name for myself in the trades.

You can ask any Co-Op or RAP student about their time in the program and I can guarantee you that they will have many positive things to say about their time in the field.

On behalf of myself and the other Co-Op apprentices, I would like to thank CAREERS: The Next Generation, our companies that support and fill our placements, the very patient mentors, and of course our friends and family. You’ve all been there for us through our highest and lowest points. Without everyone involved we wouldn’t have been able to overcome our greatest struggles, or celebrate our biggest achievements. We truly appreciate every opportunity you’ve given to us.

Thank you all for giving me the chance to share my story with you, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening.