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At the end of the day, I can say: I built that!

After graduating from university with a Bachelor of Arts, Sara Wilson found herself working at a coffee shop and not seeing a future. "I wanted something where I could make a difference," says Sara. As a child, Sara played with Lego. A lot. She loved building things.  "At the end of the day I wanted to be able to say, "I built that!"

The ability to build things led to her interest in the trades. She took the Trades Exploration program, which gave her the opportunity to try each trade area: welding, sheet metal, plumbing, automotive, carpentry, and electrical. For Sara, sheet metal was the most fun. "I didn't even know sheet metal was a thing. But that first time, being given a sheet of metal to work on, was life-changing," says Sara. "It was like metal origami. It was so creative, you can build so much."

Sara started with the Sheet Metal & Metal Fabrication Foundation program and is now in the 4th year of her apprenticeship. She's excelled in her schooling and been the top of her class for the last three years. Sara's apprenticeship has been taking place at Seaspan Victoria Shipyards where she works mainly on frigates, building things such as duct work and furniture,  as well as working around the shipyard doing architectural work. "I love working at the Shipyards," says Sara. "Every day is different and no two projects are the same."

Sara has no problems keeping up in the male-dominated work. "Most of the guys I work and study with worked in construction when they were younger. I didn't have that experience," says Sara. "But my confidence and strength continue to grow as I learn and work more." Her only advice to young women thinking about a career in the trades is "be confident in what you can do. Don't let anyone change your mind."

"What I've done and learned is applicable to everything," says Sara. "Now if I need something at home, I can build it."

You can do it too!

The newly expanded Sheet Metal & Metal Fabrication Foundation program opens doors to apprenticeships and careers in construction, ship building and manufacturing. Graduates of the program are ready to start employment with credit for Level 1 and technical training required for a Sheet Metal Worker, Architectural Sheet Metal Worker, or Metal Fabricator (Fitter) apprenticeship. Once hired as an apprentice they continue to build on skills in the specialty and gain the practical experience to ultimately earn a journey person ticket and inter-provincial Red Seal certification.

Change Everything

Last updated: September 23, 2015 5:05 pm

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