Meet the Heat and Frost Insulators

Guido Kamanzi, Apprentice(Alberta)

When Guido Kamanzi immigrated to Canada from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2000, he didn't speak a word of English. He spent his first four years in Canada learning English as a second language and working at various short-term jobs. But he wanted something more than just a job—he wanted a career.

The problem was that he didn't have the option of spending a lot of time and money in school to prepare for a career. Guido had already spent several years studying at a university in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but unfortunately his credits weren't recognized at Canadian universities.

One afternoon in 2005, luck turned his way. Guido was working as a customer service agent at an insurance company in Edmonton, Alberta. One of his customers that day was Bill Spring, business manager for the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers, Local 110. "I spoke to (Bill) and asked him how (things work) in the trades, because I was interested in getting into the trades," says Guido. "So he told me about insulation, and … I asked him to introduce me to the trade."

Today, 33-year-old Guido is fluent in English. And as a first-year apprentice, he is well on the way to launching his career as a heat and frost insulator. Through his on-the-job training at Edmonton's Pro Insul Ltd., Guido is enjoying the challenge of a career that requires both hands-on ability and intelligence. "You have to be a smart man," he says. "You have to work with your head (as well as your hands). So far, (the apprenticeship) is really good and I'm learning a lot of skills."

Once he receives his journeyperson certification, Guido hopes to move into management and supervisory roles. He sees a long and bright future for himself in the heat and frost insulation industry. And he's quick to encourage others to become involved. To anyone who likes working with their hands, is smart, and is willing to learn, Guido recommends a career as a heat and frost insulator. "You're building the country and you get paid well for something you love to do."