Above photo: Zyre Rolle created her own toolbox at the Skills P.E.I. Try a Trade event at Holland College on Feb. 3. Amanda Doucette photo.
Norman Leclair assists participants making tool boxes at the Skills P.E.I. Try a Trade event held at Holland College Feb. 3. Amanda Doucette photo.
By Amanda Doucette
Rosemary Crane graduated from high school in 1989 and knew she wanted to be an electrician.
At that time, she was the only women she knew pursuing a career in the trades industry.
“I did get teased and mocked, people said I should of been a hairdresser, but you know I just kept at it.”
Almost 30 years later, she’s a certified red seal electrician and proud to see other women working with her in the industry.
“I use to feel out of place, you know, like I wasn’t supposed to be there. Everything has changed so much since then.”
A red seal in the trades industry means a worker is capable of doing their job to industry standards and certified to work throughout the company.
Crane jumped at the opportunity to be able to educate youth about her career at the Skills P.E.I. Try a Trade event held at Holland College on Feb. 3.
She had a station setup to demonstrate how electricity flows to a light switch and participants could try connecting wires to see if they could get a light bulb to work.
“I’m glad to see a lot of girls at these events, it makes me feel the stigma is over around men being the ones who are suppose to work in this industry.”
Skills P.E.I. had stations set up to let participants try carpentry, machining, soldering, 3D printing, construction floor planning and electrical circuits.
Crane was glad to see several women at the event, because the trades industry is in need of workers, especially women.
“Most people who pursue a career like this, they get a job, because no one wants to do this type of work anymore.”
Patrick Leclair is the president of the Skills P.E.I. Alumni Association and he planned the event.
Leclair agrees the trades industry is short staffed and wants to encourage more youth to try it.
“Having a trade gives you a lot of flexibility of how you can make a career out of it. You can travel, start your own business and even fix things around your own house.”
Scott Harvey is an automotive technology instructor at Three Oaks Senior High in Summerside, and he understands the need to encourage youth to get into the industry.
“We used to have almost 30 kids in a class but each year it seems we’re losing more and more interest.”
Learning skills like learning how to repair cars can save people a lot of money in the end, he said.
“I haven’t brought my vehicles to a shop since I was in high school. It’s expensive to get work done, but the people who are doing the work, get paid very well for doing it.”
But it’s not just about the money, he said.
“I got my red seal in automotive, then I enlisted in the military and became a mechanic for them. You can really do anything you want with education in this industry.”