Workforce Profiles look at the people behind Workforce WindsorEssex’s 76 In-Demand Jobs. Each week, we talk to a different professional for an inside look into their work.
Tool and Die Makers create moulds for mass production. After the moulds are created, there are Mould Finishers who polish the parts and ensure the moulds are smooth and finished before they go into factories.
Bai Lin Lau’s family came to Canada over twenty-five years ago from China. He began his career as a Mould Finisher when he arrived and has continued in that skilled trade ever since.
We met up with Bai Lin and one of his three daughters, Janny to discuss his work and life. We then went to visit Dixon Tool Co Ltd, his workplace for the last six years in Oldcastle. The company works primarily with parts for the auto industry, including parts for steering wheels and chassis.
Mould Finishers fall under the Tool and Die Maker occupation classification in Ontario. It’s a voluntary trade, which means certification and College membership are available but are not legally required to practice the trade. Bai Lin learned on the job, as do many in the trade.
Learn more about Mould Finishers and other Tool and Die Maker occupations in our Career Profile.
What does a normal day look like for you?
I get up about 5:30 AM and I take care of everything for the day. I start work about 6:30 AM and finish my work by 5:00PM, five days a week. I work as a Mould Polisher. After the machine cuts the part for a customer, it’s really rough. You need a polisher to add the polish and detail, and to make it smooth. I mostly work on chassis for cars.
How did you start in this job?
I was an immigrant and didn’t have too many choices when I came here. This was easy for me. I followed my brother and he told me what to do from day one until now. My brother was a mould polisher too. He told me to come to Canada.
I will be here for a long time. I changed careers a lot in the past, but I want to stay here for good.
What kind of training did you have?
For me, I didn’t have a lot of training. Training is really good for a new person. It’s good for safety. Lots of young people go into the industry, but they can get injured. Training helps to protect them.
I’ve worked at over ten companies. A long time ago, a shop would open and you could go in and say you needed a job. Today, my daughter helps me with my resume and fill out applications. A couple times, I was laid off and Janny helped me to get my resume ready. I can go into a company and hand in my resume.
What did you do before coming to Canada?
My father was a farmer, but I didn’t like farming so I went into the city. I worked any kind of job that would keep me surviving. I was a brick layer; I made fireworks; I worked as a personal aid in a hospital. I can also sew clothing, so I worked there too. Now, I still fix my own clothes. As my father was a farmer, I know how to tend a garden and do that now.
What advice would you give to someone starting?
For young people, I would say listen to your supervisor and the leader. Use common sense. If you are not careful, you could injure yourself. Pay attention to everything and learn from other people. Safety is important. Respect people and be nice to everybody.
What has your job taught you?
The job has taught me confidence, teamwork, and self-esteem. You can make yourself. Everyone is human. It’s given me confidence in myself. A long time ago, I was an immigrant to Canada and people did not treat me equally. Everyone I work with now; I treat as an equal. I’m a good people-reader. I know how to deal with people and deal with customers. I have that skill and confidence.
All the immigrants are coming here, we are all equal. You cannot fight all the time.
What kind of people do you work with?
People are really smart in my shop. It’s amazing how many kinds of smart people there are. It’s a team, you make sure you are doing your job. Everyone does their own part and it makes the team work.
Bai Lin’s daughter, Janny: There are so many different kinds of people. There is an engineer upstairs who does completely different kind of work than my dad. Everyone is so specialized in their spot in the shop. He can’t do what someone else does and they can’t do what he does. It’s a big team.