Joan & Cheryl

Where Your Career Can Take You

Joan Paynter knows all too well the struggles women can face when working in, and trying to excel, in the under-represented skilled trades. Her experiences are exactly why she’s the perfect addition to our PEI team!

Joan grew up in Kensington, PEI and fell in love with fixing cars as a teenager when her own kept breaking down. Rather than pay for repairs, she used her natural curiosity and began fixing them herself. Joan became one of the only female high school students who could change a tire or take off a distributor cap and dry it out to make the vehicle run. She knew what to do when her wiper blade came off or if a gas pedal got stuck during winter.

Home and Native Land

A New Adventure

Her hands-on experience led Joan to joining the Canadian Forces as a vehicle technician in 1983. In the military she worked on all kinds of equipment – from 11-ton armored personnel carriers to three-quarter ton trucks. Going back to civilian life, Joan decided she’d like to continue working with vehicles and started back at school. 

In 2001 she obtained her Red Seal Journeyperson Parts Technician Certificate and hasn’t looked back! 

Going Further 

After a nearly 20-year career in the trades, working throughout Calgary at some of the country’s largest transportation companies,  Joan has come home to PEI to join our team. She works closely with Cheryl McNeill, a consultant for the office who’s been there since the opening of the office in October 2019. 

Same Old Story

Cheryl McNeill - OAWA PEI

Cheryl too has worked in the trades. She studied to be a Petroleum Engineer Technology and worked in the oil and gas industry in Alberta before coming home to PEI to be with family. She started back at school, studying Power Engineering at Holland College, before starting work with a local food processing company for six years. She’s now juggling dual roles with the Office to Advance Women Apprentices and as assistant facility manager for The Center of Aquaculture Technology Canada.

A Common Goal

Both Joan and Cheryl are eager to support women in their trades careers, coaching them through struggles they’re both all too familiar with. 

Coming Full Circle

Both women say they’ve come full circle   to now be able to offer support to the PEI Office to Advance Women Apprentices. They’re confident in the opportunities available for women on the island and love the work guiding them, building partnerships with employers and contractors, and making industry more diverse and inclusive. 

Get In Touch 

If you’re a woman interested in a career in the trades or looking for work in your chosen trade, reach out to Joan, she’s excited to get you moving along your career path! 

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