Bojorquez, who is from Cancun, Mexico, credits RRC with helping him to develop a comprehensive skill-set that has enabled him to be a go-to guy at his workplace.
“What I learned from my teachers is not just how to run the machines, but to respect the machines. You need to take care of them. If you know how they work, you know when something is wrong and you know how to fix it,” says Bojorquez, 36, who graduated from the year-long pre-employment program in 2016.
“I’ve been with Winpak for almost two years, and because of the knowledge that I acquired from Red River, my supervisor always moves me from one area to another to another. I’m one of the few people that knows how to be in every single side of the department.”
In Mexico, Bojorquez worked in the sales department for a hotel and resort operator. With a desire to work with his hands (and hotel/resort work hard to come by in wintery Winnipeg), Bojorquez opted to pursue an entirely different path at RRC.
“I chose Precision Metal Machining because it was the first step for me to go into Mechanical Engineering Technology, which is also at Red River,” Bojorquez says.
“But my family grew — I have two kids now and another coming, so it was not that easy to continue. Then I started working, and everything changes in our life. I want to go back to Red River eventually, but not to go into Mechanical Engineering Technology. Now, I want to do Aerospace Manufacturing.”
Bojorquez should have no problem succeeding when he returns to RRC. In addition to his broad knowledge and strong work ethic, he speaks English very well, and was fairly fluent before arriving in Winnipeg.
Many international students attend RRC’s Language Training Centre prior to entering their preferred program, but Bojorquez was able to skip that step.
That said, he still had to learn the language of machining.
“Going directly into a career path that I had never thought about, that was totally new — and in a different language, it was so complicated,” Bojorquez says.
“Also, my instructor was from Australia, so the English was so different. At the beginning it was so hard to get. I have some friends in class and I asked them, ‘I don’t know if it’s me or my English, but do you understand?’ and my Canadian friends said, ‘I don’t follow it either.’”
Bojorquez eventually got it, graduating from the program with honours.
These days, when he’s not slitting, extruding or doctoring plastic film, Bojorquez likes to get involved with the community.
“When we arrived in Canada, we started volunteering in the Mex Y Can Association. I do some volunteering in Folklorama as well,” he says.
“We like to be engaged in the community. Right now, we volunteer at our daughter’s school and daycare. My daughter is in the powwow club at school, a program to (teach her) more about the Indigenous community.
“I was really surprised when she said to me, ‘I want to go into the powwow club … Is that OK?’ I said ‘Of course.’ That my daughter is interested in that is amazing,”
Bojorquez says it’s important for him to continue his Mexican traditions, while also soaking up as much Canadian culture as he can.
“I want to learn, I want to know, I want to embrace it,” he says. “It’s not enough for me that I’m here. No, I’m part of this land now, so I take care of it and learn from it.”
Adjusting to life in Canada can be difficult, but Bojorquez credits RRC with easing that transition.
“They warn you about the mosquitoes. They warn you about the weather. They teach you how to live here properly, how to embrace the community, to respect and to be respected,” he says.
“For an international student with nobody here, being by yourself for a few weeks or months, totally alone, it’s so hard. But at Red River, you don’t feel alone. They treat you like family.”
Profile by Jared Story (Creative Communications, 2005)
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