Meet the TradeLinx Team at LEC

The team at LEC is here to help TradeLinx program participants as they work to build their careers in the skilled trades and construction industry. Meet some of our staff and get to know them before you enroll today!

Having worked for over a decade in construction and pre-apprenticeship program development, coordination and facilitation, Gavin brings a wealth of experience as Project Director to the TradeLinx team. While working in various roles for several non-profit organizations, Gavin has seen all corners of the province and has worked with communities and some of the largest Union training centres in North America to establish longstanding programs and relationships. Prior to this work, Gavin worked as a site labourer, residential home framer, and before making the switch, several years as a general contractor and painter, specializing in custom residential, commercial and light-industrial projects.

Nasteeha Dirie has worked as a Client Support Worker at the Labour Education Centre (LEC) since 2012. She is a passionate advocate for all clients who are seeking assistance with improving their life situation. She has provided practical help to countless participants by connecting them with well-paying jobs in the construction industry. In 2015, she contributed to the policy development for Bill 6, the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act. This act ensures employment which becomes available in the local community creates jobs for those who live in that community. Nasteeha continues to work on the front-lines, and is usually the first person participants speak with upon connecting with the TradeLinx program.

As a Client Support Worker, Iris brings over four years of experience in the social service sector to LEC. She has previous work experience as an Employment and Settlement Counsellor, and enjoys working holistically with individuals to meet their goals related to basic needs.

Iris is happy to support participants with anything that comes up that might prevent students from successfully completing training programs. In addition to her work at the Labour Education Centre, she is currently pursuing her Masters of Social Work degree.

While Grant was still in high school, he began working part-time in residential construction. He left construction to pursue other career opportunities and eventually arrived at the Labour Education Centre in 2015, when he joined the TradeLinx program. Grant spent two years with Sheet Metal Local 30 in Scarborough before getting the opportunity to work with LEC as Instructor, as well as working for Crosslinx for a year. For the last six years, Grant has spent time working with LEC. He holds a Nation Construction Safety Officer (NCSO) Designate.
Pina has over 20 years of experience working as a career and work counsellor and employment specialist. Most recently, she has developed as a life skills coach and instructor for the Tradelinx Pre-Apprenticeship Trades Program. She also has working relationships with several unions and employers, is knowledgeable about union intake requirements, and has amassed unique insight into the construction industry.
For nearly 15 years, Mustafa has been involved in the community. He is a community champion who is committed to being a part of the change he wants to see in his neighbourhood. He is really involved in the work he does because of the experience he has accumulated over the years, as well as his experience working as a tradesperson. Abdi has experience working as a Steamfitter-Pipefitter and worked as a youth worker in his past before joining LEC. This unique set of skills and experiences makes him an excellent fit for TradeLinx and additional programming the organization offers.

Juan Caballero is LEC's newest Vocational Instructor and carpenter. He has worked on countless projects across the Greater Toronto Area, including Transit City in Vaughan, M City in Mississauga, 100 Lower Ossington in Toronto, and many others. Juan believes that the trades are a journey. We are always learning, looking to sharpen our skills, grow our experience, and build something new.

It’s never too late to start a career on the trades.

Garry Hess has been involved in many aspects of construction over the years. As a lumber salesman, a labourer, a landscaper, a handyman, a machine operator and a site supervisor, he has a lot of experience in the field. As a hands-on instructor, Garry will show you the basics of framing a wall, drywall installation, mud, tape and drywall repair, he also emphasizes the importance of working safely on site, and reinforces the need to fight for diversity and equity in the trades.


TradeLinx is a twelve-week sector focused pre-apprenticeship training program for Ontario Works (OW) recipients who are interested in a career in the skilled trades/construction industry. It is offered through the Labour Education Centre and funded by Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) and the United Way Greater Toronto - Career Navigator stream.

To join the next cohort or learn more about the program, please contact Nasteeha Dirie at 416-537 6532 ext. 2236 or tap below to send an email.

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