It's about the training but also getting the trainees to like where they work, Luciano says
Luciano Dalla Lana has carried around a brick for 34 years as a constant reminder of his roots, of his career and his legacy. "I could see how you could take a pallet of bricks and create something; it gives you the opportunity to give you the ability to use both your technical abilities and your artistic side," he said.
It was the spring of 1975, and the 19-year-old was soul-searching. He had left his family and home in Trail for bigger adventures in Vancouver. There, his cousin Oscar took him under his wing, giving him a job with Italian tile fitters building up historic Gastown. "They just fascinated me," he said. "It was at that point I thought, 'that's what I want to do.'"
But he quickly grew bored of the city life and ended up moving back to Trail to work as a labourer for Cominco, and for the next three years applied for a masonry apprenticeship. He hasn't left since.
For years, he worked as a safety co-ordinator and training instructor, but always dreamed about helping out other young people who were just starting out. Then, in 2005, his dream came to fruition.
It had been well over 20 years since Cominco had apprentices and with an aging workforce, Dalla Lana was one of those who piped up that he was interested in developing a trades-training program. When the opportunity finally arose he grabbed it.
Now, as the trades-training co-ordinator, Dalla Lana is responsible for 42 apprentices in eight different trades. "It's like a dream coming true, dealing with these young people. I'm always dealing with tradespeople on the property in how to train and how to mentor."
"It's just fantastic to help these guys along, to give them an opportunity to not just have a job but to be able to get into a career."
The program breaks down the training curriculum for each apprenticeship program into modules. From there, Teck Cominco supplies a practical application to the module, which sees the apprentices pursue a training program as they rotate through all five business areas of the company. But the program doesn't factor in the apprentices' productivity.
"We're investing in training these people and then creating a workplace environment they want to stay in," he said, adding each apprentice is assigned a mentor to teach them trade skills and life skills in the workplace. "When I leave, we've put a system in place with the teams I've been involved with that I think apprenticeships in Trail will never go away."
But Dalla Lana's focus on training and mentoring isn't limited to Teck Cominco.
He's also working with the ITA and Resource Training Organization to create new training programs, while maintaining his membership with the Heavy Industry Training Advisory Committee.
He also sits on the advisory committee for a school district in the West Kootenay and works as a liaison with Thompson University, College of the Rockies and the B.C. Institute of Technology to co-ordinate subject-matter experts from different trades.
Name: Luciano Dalla Lana.
Category: Resource and Manufacturing.
Town: Castlegar, works in Trail.
Trade: Red Seal Bricklayer.
Current job: Trades training co-ordinator, Teck Cominco.
Years in trade: 32 years with Teck
Current number of apprentices: 42 in eight different trades.
Why would someone want to be a bricklayer? "It's not something you can read in a manual, it's little things you pick up that someone has to show you and it leads to so many other opportunities."
Why did the judges choose him to win? "Luciano has been known to do everything he can for his apprentices. He did everything he could during the down years to keep trades alive in Trail."
Why did you nominate Luciano for this award? "He is committed to providing our apprentices with top-quality training opportunities and ensuring they have all the necessary competencies to be successful in their careers . . . he always finds the time to mentor and to recognize the achievements of each individual." -- Mark Cecchini
Services. Tourism and Hospitality