My name is Harjinder Boparai. After completing grade 10 in India, I helped my family on the farm. In 1993, my family – parents and brothers and sisters moved to Canada. I wanted to go to school but could not because of the cost. I looked for a job. It turned out to be difficult as I had no Canadian experience. After months of searching I got a job as a roofer. I worked 10 to 12 hour days during to the summer so that I could help to support my family.
After a year of working as a roofer and doing long hours, I wanted to develop myself so I could get a better job. I got my class 1 driving license after attending school for 3 months. It was still not easy to find a job. I got a job with a courier company where I was an owner operator.
In 2012 I decided to go back to school to become a journeyman mechanic. I had to pass my entrance exam with the Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT). In October 2014, I wrote the exam, but did not get the passing grade. I needed help with math. AIT referred me to
P.A.L.S. – Project Adult Literacy Society.
I met with the Math Literacy Coordinator. My volunteer tutor, Judah Mierau, worked with me one to one to make sure that I understood the concepts and developed the skills to pass the AIT entrance exam. I also attended other classes so I could complete the math modules faster.
In April 2015, I felt ready to write my exam and passed.
Last year in October, I completed my apprenticeship training for Heavy Equipment Technician and got my journeyman certificate.
Without P.A.L.S. I would be in dark. I would not know where to go. P.A.L.S. gave me a volunteer tutor, provided the materials and allowed me to work at my own pace.
I am still part of P.A.L.S. I help with fund raising, moving materials and by giving this speech. I plan in the future to be a tutor to help students and support the organization and the community that has helped me accomplish so much.