By Leaps and Bounds
It isn’t always easy to know what you want to do for a career as a young person, but for Makenna Ducharme, growing up in a family of tradespeople, a career in trades was on her radar. Seeing her aunt working as a plumber was particularly inspiring for Makenna. While her family members were largely plumbers, Makenna instead decided on electrical as her trade of choice.
Starting at a Run
Makenna’s opportunity to learn about trades and start developing her technical skills began in high school where she participated in the High School Apprenticeship Program. Kildonan-East Collegiate, a high school in the River East Transcona School Division is one of several high schools in Manitoba which offer vocational training. This program allows Manitoba students to complete their high school diploma while gaining the required technical and job skills training in the apprenticeable trades. When Makenna graduated from high school in 2018, she not only had her high school diploma, but was a Level One registered apprentice in the Province of Manitoba. She was able to launch into a career immediately without bearing the burden of paying tuition or incurring student debt.
On The Job Experience
Her first experience working as an electrician in the industry was at KVB Electrical, a local company which largely does residential work. Makenna recalls the positive experience of working for a good boss who patiently taught her and allowed her to develop her skills as an electrician.
Makenna first joined the Office to Advance Women Apprentices as a client in 2019 when she sought support finding employment as an electrical apprentice. In addition to assisting Makenna in her job hunt, the Office also provided wrap-around supports such as resume writing, interview preparation, and various networking events. It was through the office that she was introduced to Chris Taran, director of apprenticeship and training/vice-president, at the IBEW Local 2085.
‘A Career I Love’
In spring of 2020, Makenna proudly became a member of IBEW 2085 and is currently working with Wescan. She completed her Level Two schooling and is now a Level Three Construction Electrician. Working with the IBEW has allowed Makenna to expand her skills from residential to industrial and commercial.
Talking with Makenna you can feel the enthusiasm she has for her trade. “For me, it doesn’t feel like work. I’m challenged and constantly learning and I make a great wage at the same time.”
Her advice to other women considering a career in trades: “Go for it. Try something and see where it takes you. That’s exactly what I did and I found a career I love.”
If you’d like to join Makenna and find a career you love, get in touch to talk about options for your future.