Frequently Asked Questions
What is my job??
I am a registered 2nd year Electrical Apprentice with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 105 located out of Hamilton Ontario
What is your registered trade?
309A - Construction and Maintenance Electrical Apprentice
How long have you been working in the skilled trades?
I started my journey in the skilled trades in 2018 when I participated in a Pre-Apprenticeship program for General Machining. I later switched focus to Electrical in 2019 and have been a registered electrical apprentice since October 2019.
What did you do before?
I went to College for Child and Youth Work between 2008 - 2011. While at school I worked at Cash Money, a Payday loan company which helped support me through college. I completed this program in 2011 at Humber college and worked in the field as a CYW for a few years at a homeless shelter for youth. This job paid slightly over minimum wage, and so I always kept my second job at Cash Money to be able to make ends meet. With bills pilling up, when I was offered a promotion at another Payday loan company that paid slightly more than what my CYW job, I abandoned my job and started working my way up through management at Pay2Day. I ended my career at Pay2Day as Training Coordinator/Auditor making only $20 dollars an hour. I worked in payday loans for just shy of a decade chasing .50 cent raises. I make more money as a second-year electrical apprentice than I did after working 10 years in one field.
What was it that first piqued your interest in the skilled trades?
I do not have any skilled trades workers in my family, however my Grandfather was a high school tech teacher, and my mother was never afraid to pick up a tool and build something. This encouraged me to sign up in high school for tech class, where I learnt the basic of wood working and built a shelf and gumball machine. Although this was something I found interesting it was never something encouraged at my high school. Like most I ended up taking the traditional route and applying to Colleges. It wasn't until years later when I was 29 that my my best friend Math purchased a house, and he wanted to do some renovations. The day after he received the keys to his new house, he said he wanted to pull out the kitchen. I thought he was crazy, neither of us had any experience, but we started ripping out the kitchen the next day. In the next several months we did everything from demo, to framing, drywall, mudding, a little electrical and more, and I realized that I enjoyed what I was doing.
Why did you pursue a career in the skilled trades?
I pursued a career in the skilled trades because I wanted to find a job that I enjoyed. At the time I did not enjoy my job, and I discovered late in life working with my hands and completing projects like home renovations, brought me a great sense of pride, self-confidence, and satisfaction. This made me start looking for programs available to help get people into the trades. Additionally, I wanted to find a job that would allow me to thrive, not just survive. In today’s economy, with the extremely high rent prices, I found it extremely difficult to live on my own. For the first time in my life I have the potential to retire, the potential to have wants and one day maybe buy a home.
What makes being an apprentice such an awarding job?
No two projects are 100% alike in the trades and inevitably I learn something almost every day I go to work. Because of this I have developed the courage to try new things, fall down, stand back up, and repeat until success; confidence is built by competence and this is the formula. Being in the skilled trades means I get paid well, all while getting a healthy day’s exercise. Exercise is so important for both the physical and mental health of humans, and it is a forgotten natural benefit of the skilled trades. Additionally, I have built the skills, abilities, and confidence to do home & car repairs allowing me to save and make money.
What would you say to a woman who is considering getting into the trades?
There are so many amazing and positive things about the trades that I love. My job keeps me healthy physically, it keeps me healthy mentally, it gives me a routine. I can fix stuff on my own. and I’ve taken on oil changes, spark plugs and brakes in my car. If I had electrical in my house that need upgrading or fixing I wouldn’t be afraid to take that on. It is really nice feeling to be able to do these things on your own.
What would you say to a anyone who is considering getting into the trades?
The field is forever changing with the technology, and so there’s always challenges and opportunities to learn. In the trades, there are so many opportunities and avenues that can take you anywhere in the world. Women h If women really love it, they could be great leaders and really make a difference for the construction world.