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FoodGrads Podcast Ep 35: Understanding what a Millwright Mechanic does and how you become one with Taylor Carr, Millwright Apprentice at Karma Candy Inc.

On episode 35 of the FoodGrads podcast we interviewed Taylor Carr, Millwright Apprentice at Karma Candy Inc. Karma Candy is the largest producer of candy canes in Canada. They provide a range of hard candy in candy canes, stick and lollipops, as well as a wide range of chocolate technologies including shell, solid, drop, hollow and enrobed confectionery.

On this episode Taylor talked to me about her journey to becoming a fully licensed Millwright Mechanic and what she does at Karma Candy and the fun treats that they make there. Veronica always found the journey to becoming a millwright mechanic confusing but Taylor broke it down and made it so much simpler. You can tell that Taylor really loves what she does. Taylor also gives some really great advice in the episode that students in any position should take. When applying for jobs apply even if you don’t have the full list of asks they are looking for. You never know what could happen!

Show Notes

[00:02:22] Can you talk to us more about you do and where you work?  

  • Taylor is a millwright apprentice and works at Karma candy company. 
  • Her day-to-day duties are, changing over machines when switching over from products to, to new ones and just making sure that all the lines are operating properly. If there is a jam she will clear it or if an operator is having an issues fix what is going on. 

[00:02:59] What type of candy does Karma Candy make? 

  • Mainly candy canes  because they are actually the only candy cane manufacture in all of Canada and make almost a million. Changing the lines involves changing the candy cane sizes or switching between different types of candy. Some products require different amounts of chocolate and chocolate can be temperamental.  

[00:05:05] How did you become interested in becoming a millwright mechanic?  

  • During high school Taylor had injured her knee playing Rugby and had originally signed up for musical theater class and she got kicked out of that class because she couldn’t dance because of the surgery. The only class she could get into was shop class and ended up doing a great job and loving it.  
  • Shortly after Taylor did a co-op in school and then working with heavy equipment after. This made her decide that she wanted to be a millwright because it is similar to heavy equipment. 

[00:06:27] What do you mean that there was a variety of things you could do with heavy machinery?  

  • The different places you can go. For example Taylor has worked in maintenance at four different companies from  conveyors pumps to compressors. You can go anywhere with it..  

[00:07:20] How did you end working at a candy factory than? 

  • Another funny story where Taylor choose this place because it was close to where she wanted to live. She enjoyed in the past working at food factories because of how cool they were.   

[00:08:20] What are some of the things that you enjoy about your job? 

  • Overall, it’s just a really great place to work. It’s a great company. The people there are amazing.  
  • Taylor just loves going into a place that makes candy. It smells really good and it is exciting to learn about all the new products which are coming out.  

[00:09:30] What does someone exactly need to do to become a fully licensed Millwright Mechanic?  

  • Taylor found that the easiest way was to first enter into the mechanical engineering technician program, through Fanshaw College. This would exempt her from her level one schooling of being a millwright. As well it was easier to find an apprenticeship after that.  
  • Afterwards, you have to find a company to support your apprenticeship. Once she found a company to sponsor her she applied to become an apprentice. Afterwards, she applied through the Ontario College of Trades and paid her fee and then registered as an apprentice.  
  • Once you’re hired on and that all goes through, then you have to fill out what’s called, a sponsor agreement. Your sponsor has to sign up to be your journeyman.  
  • During your apprenticeship you are given  a book of tasks you  need to complete that your journeyman signs off for you. Overall, you have to complete that book and your three levels of schooling. However, here in Ontario that is changing a bit where before it used to be hours but now you have to show that you are competent from your employer than write an exam. 

[00:12:42] Once you have your full certification can you work all over Canada? 

  • Once you have your red seal you can. 

[00:13:05] What are some of the skills that you’ve been working on in order to get to that level? 

  • Machining skills and welding skills  
  • At Karma Candy they do a lot of changeovers and during the months they are not producing candy canes they rebuild them. This really gives you a chance to get to know the machines.  

[00:15:11]  Are their any other organization besides the Ontario College of Trades that you can seek support for your apprenticeship? 

  • The two that Taylor would recommend is the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship  and the Ministry of Advanced Skills and Education  

[00:16:22] What made you decide to go to Fanshaw college?  

  • It was a smaller campus like a satellite campus. Taylor found it was close to where she was living at the time making it convenient.  
  • The program was a a good mix of theory and there was a practical side. The co-op was done after the course but there was a lot of practical experience in the class that you didn’t really need it.  
  • For example, there was a welding course in the mechanical engineering technician program.  There was also a pneumatics and hydraulics course where they spent about 50% of the time in the lab hooking up circuits, pneumatic circuits, and, and figuring out. How they work it practically, which, which was great. That was one of Taylor’s favourite courses. 

[00:20:07] Were their anyone influential to you in either your career or life in general?  

  • Taylor’s mother, she was extremely hard working when she was growing up she worked three jobs just to support them.  
  • Taylor’s dad as well. He is actually blind and has lupus and colitis and was a Paralympic athlete. Although he was suffering he still goes out there and does this.  

[00:21:23] What advice would you give to student or a student looking to start in a similar career path as you?  

  • If you are applying for jobs than just apply even if you are not a fully licensed millwright. There is a shortage of millwrights out there and they might look at your resume and decide that they want to hire you. For Taylor’s first maintenance job they were looking for a fully licensed millwright. She had no experience but still hired her. 
  • Students should always try to put themselves out there and try to better themselves. Better their career.  

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