At Centre for Skills, for International Women’s Day, we decided to showcase the successes of some of the women who have taken our trades programs, and what better way to do this than to let them tell their own story. As such, this blog contains responses from a survey that has been completed by our graduates. As much as we would have loved to display all of the great achievements of our participants, we could only pick a few responses to tell the story. Women from our programs are working in various fields throughout the trades, from construction, millwright, mechanics, and entrepreneurs.
Tell us about your current place of employment. What does a typical day look like for you?
“I am a wind turbine technician. My typical day starts off in the office where we check our monitors for any down turbines, check the weather to make sure it is safe to climb. On average we climb 1-2 towers per day to work on mechanical issues or preform routine maintenance.”
“I've started my own renovation company. A typical day can be anything from working on quotes, sourcing, doing renovations, or organising different trades for a project.”
“I am currently hired as an electrical technician, in waitlist to be signed up as an electrical apprentice. My job description includes preparing the enclosures needed for control panels that needed in a project. (drilling, knocking out holes, laying out the base plates, measuring and cutting din rails/wire ducts and mainly reading schematics and wiring the panels)”
“I work with the union, so I get sent out to multiple sites for different projects. At a steel mill this might include replacing rolls on a conveyer, and at the auto plants it could be working on assembling cells. We get breaks every 2 hours, and are usually working 10-12-hour shifts.”
Tell us about your experience working as a woman in the trades. Are there other women working at your place of employment?
“I am the only woman working as a wind turbine technician for this company. It's difficult being the only woman but I wouldn't change it for the world. I have proved that we can do just as good of a job, if not better”
“I am slowly seeing more women in the trades and running their own trade business.”
“I still hear bad experiences of other women in their workplace. I would say I am blessed to be a part of the company I am working for. They have given me a chance to learn and earn the respect as a co-worker.”
The journey as a woman in the trades is not always easy. Many enter the field with lots of questions, and feelings of anxiety and insecurity. To ease that transition, we gathered advice from our previous students to hopefully build the confidence of future women who are nervous about taking the leap and starting a career in the trades.
What is one piece of advice you wish you received as a woman starting her career in the skilled trades?
“You have something great to offer to the workforce. They would be lucky to have you.”
“I wish I followed my gut earlier and started in the business much sooner.”
“Have confidence in yourself no matter what. It can be super intimidating going into a male dominated field, and there may be reasons why you might not feel good enough, especially when you're first starting off. Just try your best, have a good attitude, show up on time, and believe in yourself!”
“You’ll never be 100% ready, do it anyways.”
How can we help with that journey? What role has Centre for Skills played in your employment journey?
“The Centre for Skills pre-apprenticeship was the only reason the employer even looked in my direction.”
“I wouldn't be here today without all the opportunities the WIST program offered me.”
“The Centre for Skills gave me the skills and confidence I needed to be able to build and repair many things and use power tools effectively and safely.”
“I took the Get in Gear program to explore the skilled trades, but if I'm being honest I thought it might lead to a hobby, if anything. I learned so much about myself and how much I really love working with my hands. I also learned how fulfilling a career in the skilled trades could be with the projects we did in class”
Happy International Women’s Day!