Alan Hanschke’s temporary job in construction led to a rewarding career and an opportunity to teach construction and safety courses at LiUNA Training Plus.

Alan Hanschke’s temporary job in construction led to a rewarding career and an opportunity to teach construction and safety courses at LiUNA Training Plus.

‘Temporary job’ leads to satisfying lifelong career

Alan Hanschke thought a temporary job in construction would help him buy a house.

It was 2003, and although houses were a lot more affordable back then, home ownership still required a decent, steady job. Hanschke thought he’d stay in construction for as long as it took to put together a down payment and then move on to a different career, maybe even pursue a teaching degree.

Well, he did buy that house. But he stayed in construction because he enjoyed the work. And now almost 20 years later, he’s also teaching students all the skills they need to be successful, too.

“It feels really good helping people to improve their lives,” says Hanschke.

Like his grandfather, his father and all three of his siblings, Hanschke joined the Laborers’ International Union of North America – LiUNA – Local 1611 and went to work building and maintaining vital infrastructure like roads and bridges. He worked for various companies and advanced in his career, eventually leading his own crew as foreperson.

A few years ago, he looked into joining Training PLUS, which is LiUNA’s professional labourers’ union school based in Surrey.

Hanschke teaches a number of construction and safety courses, like how to work in confined spaces, proper fall protection, skidsteer and telehandler operation, hoisting and rigging, and ground disturbance.

“I always emphasize the importance of safety for students,” says Hanschke.

As an instructor, he’s also an ear when students just need someone to talk to, sometimes about their work, and sometimes about issues in their personal lives.

Hanschke says he enjoys the connection with his students and is able to assist with referrals to support programs that students may not even be aware they have access to, like employee and family assistance programs, counselling and other mental health services. As members of LiUNA, students don’t pay for these services.

Construction is an amazing career, says Hanschke, but it isn’t promoted enough as a career path, and that has to change.

“There is a stigma with construction and there is no reason for it. We offer great wages and benefits and opportunities for travel and advancement, and you get to build our province, with your work making up essential infrastructure for decades or more. It’s incredibly satisfying.”

For more information on joining LiUNA and the programs available at Training PLUS, visit liuna1611.org.

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