A former tradesman who turned to teaching after being injured on the job, Chetyrbok was recently honoured as the Instructor of the Year at Apprenticeship Manitoba’s annual Awards of Distinction.
Chetyrbok says his instructor position gives him the opportunity to invest in the next generation of ironworkers, by sharing his expertise with students and doing his best to prepare them for careers in industry.
“In my mind, the students themselves are responsible for their own learning. I’m just here to facilitate,” Chetyrbok told the Winnipeg Free Press recently. “I try my best to instill character, work ethic and a strong command of what the trade involves. I’m here as the result of an accident, so I really stress the safety part of it.”
Chetyrbok (shown above with Neil Cooke, chair of Transportation and Heavy Apprenticeship Trades at RRC) got his start as a student in RRC’s Welding program, but took an interest in ironworking after visiting a friend at a job site. After he suffered an on-the-job injury that prevented him from returning to work, his business manager suggested he try teaching.
Chetyrbok said he’d give it a go, and hasn’t looked back. He recently took time out of his schedule to coach a trio of students taking part in a Western Canadian apprenticeship competition.
Two of those students (Sebastian Barychynski and Jordan Orieux) took first and second place, respectively, while the third (Matthew Chetyrbok, Barry's son) took sixth. All three travelled to Toronto in September for the 2014 Iron Workers International Apprentice Competition.
(Barry's son, it bears noting, is one of the youngest Red Seal journeymen in Canada, having achieved his certification at the age of 19 after becoming an apprentice ironworker through a high school pre-apprenticeship program.)
For his part, the elder Chetyrbok says he tries to avoid the typical teacher-student relationship with his apprentices, preferring instead to treat them as future industry colleagues.
“I’m going to see them on the job, and it makes me proud to see how far they’ve progressed,” he says. “They’ve taken their training to the next level. I have former students right now who are running multi-million-dollar jobs. I’m very proud of them.”