What advice do you have for young people looking to pursue a career in the trades?
There are many benefits to a career in skilled trades for people of all skill sets. Education is assessable, you can earn while you learn through an apprenticeship, and the possibilities for advancement are endless. The wages are substantial, and with the current demand for skilled trades professionals globally, employment is very stable.
Given the lack of diversity in trades, what would you say needs to be done to advance the presence of minority groups like women?
Thankfully, in recent years there has been a fantastic effort on behalf of our government, employers, and organizations like Skills Ontario and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program. They are making great strides to create campaigns and programs to change the negative perceptions about the skilled trades. I believe, by educating the young minds of today about the importance of equality, diversity, inclusive work cultures, and the importance of infrastructure, we can have an extraordinary impact on the future of the industry for everyone.
When did you know you wanted a career in the trades?
I think somewhere deep inside I always knew, however, I wasn’t aware of skilled trades pathways and apprenticeships when I was in high school. Initially, I pursued a career in health care as my parents suggested, but I always felt like something was missing. In 2002 a chance meeting with a former high school classmate changed my life. I was made aware of the apprenticeship, applied, and was accepted. Almost 20 years later, I love everything about my career. The journey has not always been easy, but it’s definitely worth it.
What would you say has been the most rewarding part about having a career in the trades?
The skilled trades offer endless rewards. High earning potential, the ability to travel globally, diversity, equal pay, but most of all job satisfaction. Nothing beats the sense of accomplishment you experience being part of a hard-working crew of skilled professionals bringing infrastructure to life. It’s empowering.