Photo: Leshan Patterson at the Herzing College Skilled Trades campus
Updated January, 2021.
Leshan Patterson never intended to pursue a career in the skilled trades. He went to university and earned a degree in Bio-medical Science, before realizing he wasn't on the right career path.
Leshan started researching other options, and discovered he was a perfect fit to become an electrician. He enrolled in the Combined Electrician and Network Cabling Technology Program at Herzing, and never looked back.
Now, he's graduated from the program, and just been hired as an Electrician Apprentice with Micromaster Pioneers - a Toronto company that delivers residential and commercial electrical services.
We interviewed Leshan to find out what he thought of Herzing's training, and what he's up to at his new job. He gave us an inside look at what it's like to go back to school, and take a chance on a new career path.
Here are the highlights from our conversation.
Q: Leshan, can you tell us about your background? What were you doing before you decided to return to school?
Leshan: Prior to heading back to school, I had just finished university and was taking time to truly figure out what I wanted to do as a career and for the rest of my life.
I majored in Bio-Medical Science, and had a passion for math, physics and creating new things. But, I could not see a future for myself in medicine.
After a year of researching every career that integrated my skillset, I chose to become an Electrican as it was my best fit and my passion.
Now, I am learning while I am working, building a career in a field that has plenty of job opportunities, and provides me with a great work-life balance.
Q: Why did you choose the Combined Electrician/Network Cabling program?
Leshan: I chose the Combined Electrician and Network Cabling program - specifically at Herzing College - because it provided me with all the training and tools necessary to walk onto a job site, and have an impact immediately on my first day.
In my opinion, studying both trades provides me with the foundation and skillset necessary to increase my earning potential, and be a valuable member of any trades organization.
Q: What was your experience like in the program? How was the instructor and the other students in your class?
Leshan: From the instructors to my classmates, my experience in the program was fantastic. Everything was tailored for our success. My classmates came from diverse backgrounds that ranged from the Philippines, Syria, Russia, China, South America and the Caribbean.
My classmates had prior work experience in many different fields, from engineering to the food industry. Many were taking their first step toward a new career path.
Q: What was the toughest thing you had to learn in training? Anything you struggled with?
Leshan: I faced many hardships while studying. I fought hard to maintain my grades, and while battling personal conflicts, I also worked full-time - so I had very limited time to rest.
With full-time school, full-time work, and full-time life, I had to learn how to manage my time... which was the toughest thing I had to learn.
But on the job, you learn quickly that one of the most important things is to just show up.
Q: What was the best part of the Electrician/Network Cabling program for you? What did you enjoy most, and why?
Leshan: If I had to choose, I would say the workshops were the best part, because that's where I got to implement my theoretical knowledge with hands-on practice.
Under the guidance of my instructors, I was able to learn the necessary fundamentals every good electrician should know.
Q: You just got hired as an electrician apprentice, right? Can you tell us who hired you, and what kind of work you're doing?
Leshan: I was hired by Micromaster Pioneers as an Apprentice. The role utilizes both my Electrician and Network Cabling knowledge. I'm working on job-sites that range from high-end homes, to commercial and industrial sites.
Here are some of the projects I'm working on, and new skills I'm building:
• Home Automation solutions including Lighting, Music, Entertainment, Security
• Service Panel Upgrades
• Standby Generator Installations
• Electrical Car Charger Installation
• Home Safety Inspection
• Knob and Tube Replacement
• Pool and Spa, Hot Tub Wiring
• Pot Lights - Indoor and Outdoor
• Chandeliers, Ceiling Fans & Exhaust
• Lighting Design
• 1 Phase/3 Phase Circuits
• Outdoor Lighting
• Standby generator installations
• Data / Communication Lines
• Access System installation
• Cat 5 Cabling
• Business Smart Solutions
• Priority Dispatching
Q: So, what are your career plans for the future?
Leshan: I would like to continue learning and sharing my electrician and network cabling knowledge. I want to specialize in as many areas as possible, and in the future start my own business.
Q: Now that you're out in the field, what advice would you give a brand new Electrician/Network Cabling student?
Leshan: I would tell a new student to persevere through any hardships, because things that are worthwhile never come easy.
In this field, the ability to persevere is essential as nothing ever goes as planned, and yet, you must fight through those difficult times to complete the job and be successful.
Thank-you, Leshan, for taking the time to talk with us. We're extremely proud of your success and wish you a long and happy career!
Interested in the Electrician and Network Cabling Program?
Herzing College (Trades Division) offers a unique Electrician and Network Cabling Technology program.
This is a combined pre-apprenticeship program that runs for 42 weeks, and prepares students for jobs in both fields.
Your next step is to speak with Admissions. An Admissions Advisor will guide you through the program, costs, financial aid, how to apply, and more.
Chat live with an Advisor now. Or click below to explore the program in more detail. We're here to help!