Sometime in 1972 the Department of Labour, said that we had to have a license to work in the mill, they wanted all the mechanics to have their industrial mechanic licenses.
The Department of Labour, Bruce Baker told the superintendent, Dave Crosby that I would have to go to school and study for my industrial mechanic license.
It took a while to have the program set up. We went to the Nackawic High School two nights a week. They gave us Dave Crosby, and Humbert Beckett for our teachers, the first night Dave Crosby was my teacher he gave us homework to do. He gave us twenty five pages of math. Somebody said we can’t do that in one day. He said it will come back to you. I said to him, how is it going to come back to me? I never even saw that book before, and of course everybody in the class burst out laughing. He apologized to me and he said to do the best I can.
Mr. Crosby only taught us for a week or two because the real teacher wanted to do it, so they gave me Mr. Beckett, he was a good teacher, he helped me a great deal, and actually I couldn’t have done it without him. I thanked him for helping me.
We went to school for the rest of the winter.
Nackawic Pulp and Paper had to have a contract with the Department of Labour for each mechanic to have grade 10 education before they would sign the contract. When it came to me, with little education, they didn’t want anything to do with me because I didn’t have grade 10.
My superintendent Dave Crosby said if you don’t take Vital, we won’t bother with the rest of the mechanics.
A week later Bruce came back and he said to give me a chance, if he passes the first division, then we would sign a contract. The end of April we had our written exam and all of the class passed the exam. I passed my first division with 83%. The department of labour had to sign me on.
Bruce Baker was very surprised that I had passed especially with such a high mark like that.
That summer we worked steady and in the fall we went back to school. We asked them if we could write the second division. They didn’t like the idea because we didn’t have a teacher. We told them that we were not stupid we could study by ourselves. We told Bruce if we didn’t pass, all we had to do was to go back to school and study for the second division, so they agreed to let us write the second division. We showed them what we could do; we all passed the second division. Then we had to study for the third division and went to school for two days a week all winter long. In April 1973 we wrote the third division, we all passed .The fourth division was review from the last division that we had already passed, so we wrote the fourth division and passed.
We had to pass the provincial exam in the fall of 1975, so we went to Woodstock and wrote the provincial. We all passed that as well. We had another exam to pass the provincial industrial mechanic license. The first time I tried I screwed up and I didn’t pass. I had to pay them 5 dollars, so I got to write the exam again. We had to have 70% to pass the exam. I got 77%, so I passed. I was proud of myself for the education I have.
Shortly after that the Department of Labour had a big supper in Woodstock and gave us our diploma after the meal. I was quite pleased with what I had accomplished. One of the guys from the Department of Labour told me that I had to write my inter-provincial I told him that I would do that next week. I had to write it twice, but I did it. I was proud of myself.
By having my diploma it gave me the right to get my wages up to an AA Industrial mechanic. I would be able to get my AA top wages. I have done something that the Department of Labour didn’t think I could do, but I proved them wrong. All I needed was a chance to prove myself which I did. Bruce Baker came to me one day two years later; he wanted to tell me something about this guy that wanted to get his diesel mechanic license.
This guy asked me if he could go to a program through the Department of labour since Bruce Baker was telling him this story about me. He told him no you don’t have enough education you only have grade10 and you need grade 12 to be able to study for diesel mechanics. Bruce went home and he said to me I couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about what you had done for your industrial mechanic license. He said to me, the next morning I had to go back and see him. I told him Vital Thebeau had grade four education and we gave him a chance. He got his industrial mechanic license a few years ago, that’s why I had to come back and give you a chance. Bruce told me weeks later that the guy passed his diesel mechanic paper. If it hadn’t been for you he wouldn’t have his diesel mechanic paper now. I was very happy to see that I helped somebody that made me feel good. Sometimes you might help people and you never hear about it.