Carter Johnson was one of the first students in Saskatchewan to take Sun West DLC’s Agricultural Equipment Technician (AET) 20 course when it launched in 2018.
AET Alumnus – Carter Johnson
Carter Johnson was one of the first students in Saskatchewan to take Sun West DLC’s Agricultural Equipment Technician (AET) 20 course when it launched in 2018. Carter grew up in an agricultural community and had experience on the farm but didn’t grow up on a farm himself. In his Grade 12 year, Carter was considering studying agronomy after high school when his principal told him about this new AET course which offered online theory as well as a work placement at a local ag equipment dealership.
“I took AET because it sounded like a cool experience more than anything,” Carter remembers. “I didn’t think I’d end up with a job out of it.”After 50 hours of online study at his school, Carter travelled from his hometown of Lampman to the nearby Nelson Motors & Equipment dealership in Estevan where he joined their service team for his work placement. During his time at Nelson, Carter experienced “bigger” fixes like setting up new combines and updating transmissions on 4-wheel drive tractors.
After graduation, Carter applied to apprentice as an AET at Nelson Motors and started that winter. Carter credits AET20 and specifically the work placement with changing his path after graduation: “I would say that the placement probably made the decision for me. That’s where you get to know—for the most part—exactly what you’re getting into.” He adds, “Honestly, If I never did that work placement, I don’t think that’s something I ever would have applied for.”
Shannon Mack is the Manager of Human Resources at Nelson Motors & Equipment and has been involved in the DLC’s AET program since it began 4 years ago. “Carter was one of the first students to participate in AET20,” Mack remembers. “We saw his potential when he did his work placement and we were excited to hire him as a permanent employee after graduation. Carter has become a valued technician and just completed his Level 2 in the apprenticeship program.”
Mack says participating in the AET program is valuable for the industry as a whole. “As a dealership living and doing business in our communities, it is important to partner with local high school students to showcase the AET trade,” says Mack. “Providing work placements gives us the opportunity to highlight how the trade has changed. It’s no longer just knowing how to turn a wrench, but using computers and technology for almost everything they do.”
Carter’s experience with AET in high school and at his work placement at Nelson Motors is a powerful example of the value of partnerships between education and industry and how they provide meaningful opportunities to students.