Before he joined the West Smelter Centre (WSC) team four and a half years ago, Maxime worked for many years as a subcontractor at Axcio. During that time, he acquired a great deal of knowledge about how to conduct anode changes, which helped him to transition to his new role as a Rio Tinto trainer. Known for his commitment and enthusiasm, Maxime gets his work done with a smile. Always bringing people together and taking an interest in his co-workers’ wellbeing, he’s also the definition of a “bon vivant”!
Why did you decide to become a trainer?
Before Rio Tinto, I spent a few years working in high schools and youth centres as an educator. I really liked that training allowed me to teach and share my experience in a similar way. At first, I hadn’t thought of becoming a trainer, but my supervisor suggested I try the job, and I accepted. I really liked the two years I spent as a trainer for Axcio; I gained a lot of experience from it, because there was a significant amount of staff turnover at the time.
What matters most to you in your work?
We’re really one big family; we spend almost as much time at the plant as we do at home. You never want one of your co-workers to get hurt, much less someone that you just trained. New employees are at a higher risk of not recognizing a hazard, as opposed to someone with five or ten years of experience at the plant. So, what matters most to me is that all the employees who finish training feel capable in their new work environment. I want them to be able to identify all the hazards, lines of fire and risks that they are exposed to every day. Ultimately, I want to make sure that they get to go home to their families at the end of the workday.
What makes you a seasoned trainer?
There are a lot of people who go through training each year. They don’t all bring the same amount of experience or the same level of understanding. I always try to remember how I felt in the beginning, when I first started. I try to adapt to each person and find the right way to make them understand the best way possible. It’s not always easy to come in to the WSC as a new employee. Anyone who works at the plant or has worked there during the summer can tell you how brutal it is to do suspension lifting or even just to stand in front of the pots in the middle of a heatwave.
Music plays an important role in your life. How does working at Rio Tinto help you keep pursuing that passion?
Having such a stable job, as well as such good working conditions, means I can have lots of music-related things going on. It’s important to me, during my free time, to spend time with my son and to make music; it lets me put everything else on pause. So at the same time, I also keep going out to shows, writing songs and banging out tunes on my guitar at bars.