PARTICIPANT STORY – KATHERINE

Katherine worked in the healthcare industry for 27 years and was training to be a nurse before joining Tradeworks. While she was good at her job, long hours of standing were becoming difficult for her as she developed some medical issues with her legs. As a single mother raising a son with special needs, she had to think carefully about her next career steps. Originally, she had an interest in becoming a heavy equipment operator as she thought it would be an ideal job that would offer her regular work hours and career stability; however, as she was searching for training courses on the Internet she came across the Women in the Trades program and decided to contact Tradeworks Training Society. After having a very positive and encouraging conversation about the program over the phone with a staff member, she felt she had found the right place to learn a new and rewarding career.

Taking the leap from nursing to a career in the trades seemed overwhelming at first, but it ended up being the best decision she ever made. Tradeworks provided her with a supportive environment to learn her new trade in carpentry. Katherine’s self-confidence jumped significantly as a result of the Women in Trades program. At first she was nervous learning new tools that she had never used before, but with proper instructions from her experienced carpentry teachers, her confidence grew and kept growing right to the end. She went from learning how to use hand and power tools for small detailed projects to industrial size carpentry equipment to build large scale woodworking projects. She never imagined that she would have a deep sense of appreciation for drafting or be so good at working in the trades, but the women’s carpentry program really focused on developing her strengths and taught her the technical skills she needed to be job ready.

Recently, Katherine built an outdoor picnic table that she is very proud of. She worked collaboratively with other women in her program to draft the table design, handpick the type of wood to use and build the project from start to finish. She found the whole experience really rewarding. Working with women from different cultural and educational backgrounds has taught her that women have a place in the trades and can be very successful at it.

Katherine’s career has already taken off. She was recently hired at Kerrs Furniture Service, a company that provides antique restoration services. As a Furniture Finisher and repairer for the shop, she is thrilled that she gets to work hands-on with each assigned project. Her career looks bright and she can now manage her time with her son.

Program graduate: March 2015