Pauline Carkner credits a grade 10 high school teacher with introducing her to the idea of the trades as a career. Today she is an electrical apprentice and a member of the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers (CUSW).
“I tried a dual credit course in grade 10 (earning both a high school and college credit for the course) and knew then this was the right fit.”
A co-op opportunity in grade 11 to work at electrical supplies store Westerburne gave her exposure to the materials she now works with. “In grade 12 I was accepted into OYAP (Ontario Youth Apprentice Program) and got a job with Evergreen Power Ltd.”
“After I graduated I went to work at Brock Machinery and Automation Inc. and then for a period with Fairway Electrical Services Inc.”
She is currently working as a third-year apprentice with Hydro One and will be returning to school this August.
Carkner says she has always felt encouraged and supported in her career choice, from that first teacher who pointed her in this direction, through everyone she has met along the way. “My family has backed me 100 per cent and I have always felt I was treated equally and with respect at each of the companies I have worked with.”
Saying women bring a different perspective and approach to the job, and to solving challenges, she says she has not come across any significant challenges that she could not work through. “Although I am a bit on the short side so sometimes I need a ladder to reach something another person might be able to without.”
She says she loves her job, the people she works with and, not one to sit still, the ability to be working hard every day.
Carkner’s next goals is working towards her electrical ticket.
“This is a great career for women, for young people and for anyone looking at a career change. I would say go in with an open mind and ready to work hard and you’ll find it’s the best job ever.”