I’m deeply committed to apprenticeship as a means of developing competency, and vigorous in my support of the skilled trades. Because of that, people often assume I’ve come from that world (which I haven’t, at least not directly). The next question that’s asked is “So, why do you do this?”. I’ve often said that I went to university and became a military officer because I wasn’t good enough to be a skilled tradesman. That in itself probably requires an explanation, so here goes:
My father came to Canada from England in 1953 with £100 in his pocket, a cardboard suitcase and a toolbox. He was a tin-basher, and worked most of his career fabricating restaurant fixtures and cabinetry from stainless steel. I didn’t inherit my Dad’s hands, but I did inherit his heart, and his mind. My focus on helping industry develop real-world skills is my tribute to him and the thousands of others who built this country while at the same time building a good life for themselves and their families.
I learned a really valuable lesson during my military career: if you look after the troops, they’ll look after you. With that in mind, we founded Griffiths Sheppard Consulting Group on a simple premise: that the people who make money for companies aren’t in the boardroom; they’re on the shop floor, adding value for customers. We focus there – because that’s where the greatest impact can be.
We have a skills shortage in Canada, and at the same time we have many people who are unemployed, and one of the largest youth unemployment and underemployment rates in the OECD. That’s a disgrace. Canada can do better than that. And I want to help. THAT’s why I do this.