Name: Sonia Harte
Company: NEAL (A partnership of North Eastern Constructors Limited (NECL) and Apply Leirvik)
Education: Ironworker Generalist Certificate, Ironworkers’ Training Centre
Location: Onshore – Fabrication Facility
Hometown: Witless Bay, NL
Currently Living In: Sunnyside while working; Witless Bay during days off
“In short, my job consists of fitting steel, aluminum and other metals together to be tacked by a welder. It’s a very diverse job, and every day we work to do things more and more efficiently.”
Education and Personal Background
When Sonia Harte was in high school, she never thought she would work in a trade in the oil and gas industry.
“At that time, everyone was doing education, nursing, or administration type courses. I went for the office work at first, and worked at a medical clinic for 15 years. It was at age 40 that I decided to become an ironworker.”
Sonia completed the nine-month Ironworker Generalist Program offered through Ironworkers Education and Training Centre in Mount Pearl. She says she chose this particular program because she was looking for a career in a trade, and the ironworker trade seemed to be the best fit for her interests and skill sets.
“It seemed interesting to me to actually build things out of metal,” she says.
In addition to her ironworker certification, Sonia has completed other training required for her job, such as fall arrest, confined spaces, and construction worker safety.
Duties and Work Involvement
Sonia’s typical day starts at 5:00 a.m., with a short commute from Sunnyside to the Bull Arm fabrication facility. Upon arriving at Bull Arm, Sonia is bussed to the ‘topsides area’ at 6:20 a.m., and attends a 7:00 a.m. safety meeting. He she works on construction of topsides for the Hebron gravity based structure (GBS) – an oil production installation.
“From that point onward, my job is so diverse. I could be cutting out a piece of steel one minute, then bolting down a stair tower or sorting steel in the yard.”
In addition to her role as an Ironworker, Sonia serves as chairperson of the site’s Trades Safety Committee.
“I like how that extra involvement adds a new dynamic to my job. It gives me a great opportunity to interact with fellow workers in a different setting, and to develop my interpersonal skills,” Sonia says.
Questions and Answers
Why did you choose a career in oil and gas?
I don’t think I chose a career in oil and gas, but it chose me. Now that I’m here, I love it and would like to keep working in this industry.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy learning from my fellow workers each day, and helping them in return. They always respect my opinions and the work I do.
What advice do you have to offer to aspiring tradespersons?
Keep a positive attitude and enjoy camaraderie with fellow workers. For me, I try to keep my mood light, while learning from and helping my colleagues. My motto is ‘smile and the world smiles with you!’