Apprentice Profile: Le-Royce Conner-Tavares
Nearly a year into his apprenticeship training, 35-year-old Le-Royce Conner-Tavares couldn’t be happier with his choice for a second career.
Conner-Tavares began his apprenticeship with IBEW Local 518 in April 2020 because he wanted to ensure a better life for himself and a secure future for his family.
After eight years of traveling around rural Arizona as a delivery driver and technician for a national beverage company, he said he anticipated receiving a decent raise. He received top marks on surveys for customer service, timeliness of his calls, and would make 2 a.m. runs to service area customers without a complaint. When he found out he was going to receive a slim raise and that his career path with the company was limited, he decided it was time to make a move.
His two best friends who are journeymen electricians had been trying for several years to convince Conner-Tavares that he should join them in the world of union electrical work.
“To be honest, I was afraid I wasn’t smart enough to do it,” said Conner-Tavares, citing his fear of the math involved.
He said he credits wife Jessica Cruz with truly convincing him to pursue a career through IBEW Local 518.
“Jessica really drove me and told me I could do it, and that I was selling myself short and talking myself out of a future if I didn’t apply for the apprenticeship,” reflected Conner-Tavares.
His friends told him that he was so well-versed at fixing beverage coolers, fountain drink machines and freestyle dispensers that he had the talent and skills to become a journeyman electrician. They told him all he had to do was devote himself to one thing and to do it well. That’s when Conner-Tavares took the initiative to brush up on his math skills and apply for the apprenticeship program.
When asked how he feels about the decision, Conner-Tavares said, “I love it! In my younger years, I probably would not have appreciated it as much. I understand what a great opportunity it is.”
Having worked for years without the protections of a union, he sees value in the union every day. “There’s a beauty to it,” he said.
“Safety is a much bigger deal with the union than it has been with other jobs I’ve held,” observed Conner-Tavares. “The union is focused on individual safety.”
Working towards becoming a journeyman electrician, Conner-Tavares said he has never doubted his own work ethic, and he is pleased he’s at a place where hard work and dedication are rewarded. He also knows that his years of business experience will pay off as he becomes an experienced journeyman and eventually takes on more responsibility as a supervisor and foreman.
He’s also proud to be a member of IBEW. He likes to point out that the “B” is the most important letter because it’s all about the Brotherhood that being in a union provides.
He said also appreciates that every union member has a vote in the decision-making process. Because he’s so new, he said he trusts fellow brothers and sisters to have his best interests at heart, and only wishes he would have made the career change much sooner.
“If I can do it, anybody can do it!” he said when asked what he’d say to others thinking about applying to an apprenticeship program. “I talked myself out of it. And now I kick myself a little every day for not doing it sooner.”
Once he’s a journeyman, Conner-Tavares plans to hit the road and work as much as he can to build a solid financial foundation for his family, his wife, and their three daughters. He feels secure in his promising future, so much so, he looks forward to eventually expanding his family and opening his heart and his home as a foster and adoptive parent.
“I am glad that being an electrician is a career, and not just a job. I can become a journeyman, a foreman, the sky’s the limit,” he beamed.