Pre-Apprentice EDM Operator Nets Award: Stellar model of youth in manufacturing

Published Nov 30, 2021 | Posted in Cavalier, Industry, News

“This work is hands-on. It is quick learning.  It’s not a lot of years of studying and it’s really active, too. And now for girls, this helps encourage maybe more to join in. “

                                                                                                                                       Cynthia Cooper


Awareness of skilled trades and the value of training are a key part of the Canadian Tooling and Manufacturing Association (CTMA)  Apprentice Awards.   

So, for Cynthia Cooper to win a 2021 Pre-Apprentice Award, Cavalier is very proud to celebrate this win with her. 

Cynthia was presented with the award at the CTMA Annual General Meeting in London, Ontario.   Cynthia has worked at Cavalier since February 2020 as an EDM Operator.  

“Cynthia is a shining example of our youth and we are very excited to celebrate this win with her,” says Cavalier GM Brenda Quint.  

“She is such a great addition to our team.  She has a top notch attitude and a willingness to learn new things.  She is someone we can depend on. “

Cynthia graduated from Herman Secondary School in June and since she did OYAP (Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program), she was able to skip year one of College and went straight into year 2 of her apprenticeship.  

Through this program, she had accumulated 1500 hours at Cavalier Tool and Manufacturing. 

Her total score for the ranking of attributes of Punctuality/Attendance; Reliability/Dependability; Quality of Work; Problem Solving Skills, Attention to Detail, Initiative and Ambition; Ability to work successfully in a team environment; Attitude, Compliance with Company Rules and Procedures and Follows Safe Work Practices, was a whopping 96%!  

The quality of her work exceeded expectations, especially in their of Grinding, Assembly/Disassembly Wire EDM, along with her Organization and Work Housekeeping Skills. 

She also won the Tech Award in Grade 11 at Herman Secondary School.  AND she received an academic award every year in high school because of her high grades.  

Well done, Cynthia! 

Cynthia says what is most notable in her work is how to use CNC  and EDM Machines. “In school we were never taught how to use the computer- programmed machines and had to do everything by hand. So, being in the workforce allows me to learn this firsthand and eventually learn how to operate them.”

Machinists set up, operate, and maintain a variety of machine tools including computer numerically controlled (CNC) tools to perform precision, non-repetitive machining operations. 

The duties of an EDM or electrical discharge machine operator are the setup and programming of EDM equipment to ensure proper functionality when making precision parts for tool-makers and designers.

She knows this is the start of achieving some goals, too.  

“I chose this industry to start a career… I am a hands-on person when it comes to learning and work and this industry allows me to do both.  It also allows you to move up in the workforce and for many opportunities to branch out.

Every year the CTMA reaches out to our members to bring forward the pre-apprentices and apprentices that are doing outstanding work for their companies.  

CTMA Executive Director Rob Cattle, says this time-honoured tradition provides an opportunity for the hard work and dedication shown by these award winners to be recognized by their peers and receive prizes for their achievements. 

” The CTMA’ s annual Apprentice Awards could not take place without the generous contributions from our many sponsors, and it was fantastic to be awarding them in-person again at this years’ Annual General Meeting,” says Cattle. 

These awards are important to the industry since they increase awareness and credibility to the tool and mold industry,” says Quint.  “Participating in these awards gives a morale boost to the nominee to feel good about themself (whether they win or not) and that the work they are doing is valued. In addition to that, it shows people and other employees that we are paying attention and are aware of the contribution and effort.” 

Cavalier has helped more young people in this industry by opening doors to local schools, educational leaders, and parents. 

“They can see firsthand what our tool shop is all about, learn something about manufacturing, and see that the outdated myths about manufacturing being dirty and dull are no longer valid,” says Cavalier president Brian Bendig.

Cavalier goes beyond mere participation in awards.  

“We like to make them interactive, curious and fun. In addition, we invite some of our “partners in success” to assist and promote the importance of teamwork.  And I always love giving tours and showing what we are all about,” says Bendig. 

Some of the activities Cavalier has done include: 

  • Talking at schools
  • Giving tours
  • Participating in “Mfg. Day” and “Bring your Kids to Work Day”
  • Supporting Build-A-Dream
  • Creating and participating in a Math Pilot Program with Herman Highschool.  

Cynthia says the award is one she holds as a high honour.   

“I know there are a lot of people that could have been chosen.  So it was very exciting to attend the ceremony too. It also just gives me even more motivation to continue on with my apprenticeship.” 

  At the same time she will continue to work in this industry – and at Cavalier – to learn how to fully operate EDM machines and rise up to become a programmer one day. 

It may be a longer term goal than 5 years but she says she is excited to continue the journey