Today’s feature for National Apprentice Week is Alaraya Holmberg an apprentice with Westphal & Company. She came to Westphal & Company from a program called Bigstep. Bigsteps aim is to enhance the ability of public and private sector organizations to recruit, develop, and retain a more diverse, qualified workforce in construction, manufacturing, and emerging sectors of the economy. Now let’s take some time to learn more about Alaraya and her goals.
Tell me about your journey into construction. Where did you start and where are you now?
I started as a CW working at a really big job with a couple hundred electricians. I did some of the most basic work like cleaning and getting familiar with people who work in the field. While I was there, I got accepted into Bigstep which is a program that helps people without a lot of experience in trades. That program gave me the tools I needed to nail my apprenticeship interview.
What or how did you get interested in a career in construction?
I really enjoy a variety of work and a variety of locations and a variety of people. I like a challenge and being able to figure stuff out. Very rarely am I doing the same thing. Electrical work is incredibly useful knowledge in general. I really appreciate having a set of skills not everyone has.
What’s the best part of your job?
You met a lot of characters and meet a lot of people from all walks of life. All different ages, backgrounds, and so much to learn from others. I look forward to meeting new people and seeing what information they have. I love the work, but a lot of it depends on the people you are working with. It’s nice to find a good balance of hard work and working with good people.
Biggest takeaway from your apprenticeship?
It’s really important to find your voice. No one is looking out for your apprenticeship accept for you. If you don’t take care of yourself and your apprenticeship your goals won’t get accomplished. Really figuring out what your voice is and how you interact with people and how you advocate for yourself.
How long have you been with Westphal & Company?
What advice do you have for someone looking for a career in the trades?
I would say look at what you like doing and see if there’s a correlation between what you are currently doing to what is available in trades. Be analytical and make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Be prepared for the job beforehand by getting comfortable with tools and go to the locals and halls to see whose accepting apprentices and so on. Look where the work is and look to see how much work is being done.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in your career so far?
People underestimate my abilities and what I’m capable of. The hardest thing is not letting that get to me. So, I show up each day ready to prove ‘em wrong.
Where are you looking to go from here?
After I complete my apprenticeship I am looking to keep working and I’d really love something to specialize in. Whether it’s a certain type of work or certain type of jobsites. There’s so much out there when it comes to specializing. The sky is the limit really. Within Westphal itself it’s cool seeing all the opportunities presented.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the apprenticeships we offer please use the link here and fill out the contact us form.