Six years ago my scaffold employer asked me to write a training program for the company. There had been a bad accident in the company and during the investigation the question, "what training did this employee have?" was asked. The answer was none, because at the time none was being done in the province. My boss had been bugging and bugging the union to get some training together and the union had been dragging its feet, so the boss went looking for someone else to do it. I wrote a 2 week program that turned into 3- 2 week courses for carpenter/scaffolders, a one day inspection course for people who work ON but do not build scaffolds, and a 2 to 5 day course offered to mills and mines and such for their employees to build small, tightly configured scaffolds. I wrote an in-house fall protection course too. Two years ago the training department was run by me and a department head and we had two other instructors and an administrative assistant. We had trained over 400 scaffolders and supplied the inspection and in house training to over 200 workers in dozens of companies in the three western provinces.
A year and a half ago, the scaffold company dissolved its training department and sold the training to the union. The union hired the department head full time to get their training division off the ground and me for 24 hours a week to do curriculum development and teach. Last February they decided the department head could do everything and I was laid off.
While I was at the scaffold company, I also taught forklift operation, which they offered externally too. One of our clients was the City. I began going to their worksites to do the training and I developed a good relationship with their training department, and so when I left the scaffold company, they asked me to continue to do their training through the union. When I was laid off at the union, my guy at the City told me he'd continue to use me if I wanted to do my own thing, which I did.
When I went from 40 to 24 hours a week I found I had too much time on my hands and I was whining about boredom one day to a friend. She happens to own a yarn store, and she offered me some hours in it. (Beloved, when I told him I was going to work in the store said, "Oh no. We cannot afford for you to work in a yarn store!")
So for nine months I have been teaching forklift, selling yarn and teaching people to knit, and doing the occasional scaffold course for either the union or the scaffold company when they are overwhelmed. None of it is full time and some weeks all I work are a few shifts in the yarn store.
I am looking for something else. In the next few weeks I will submit the last assignment for my provincial instructor's diploma. I have 15 miscellaneous first and second year courses, mostly in psychology, biology and sociology. I am a Red Seal carpenter. I am 49.
I am feeling quite freaked out, to be honest. There has not been a great deal of heavy construction in my area for several years now, and there is no word that anything is going to start before spring. I hate framing and would rather do anything else than build houses. There are currently no jobs available for carpentry/scaffolding, etc instructors anywhere in my area. Further, I feel quite strongly that I have given enough effort to this construction thing anyway. It's time to do something else, but I really don't know what the hell that is.