International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year. It is the focal point in the movement for the rights and acknowledgement of women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements.
Women face drastic underrepresentation in construction, engineering and manufacturing. In 2020, BuildForce Canada found that of the estimated 1.1 million tradespeople employed in the industry, women made up only 5%.
OETIO wants to recognize the women in the industry by sharing their successes, reflecting on the challenges ahead and uplifting women workers to encourage more women applicants.
Like many young people, Local 793 member Kenedi Brosseau was unsure of her career path, but she leaned towards becoming an operating engineer. Kenedi applied to OETIO’s Pre-Apprenticeship program as a launching pad for a stable and exciting future.
She said, “I was welcomed with open arms; from there, I’ve never looked back! I couldn’t be happier with my decision to train with OETIO.”
Now training with OETIO (Morrsiburg) as an excavator and backhoe operator, Sister Kenedi says joining IUOE Local 793 has granted her endless opportunities.
“My future career goal would be to run an excavator for new builds, to do water main and sewer work, and I hope to have my own business eventually.”
Though joining a heavily male-dominated industry can be intimidating, Kenedi received the support she needed to face those concerns, which enabled her to focus on the positives.
She said, “I hoped to earn respect from others since I am just as capable and qualified. I had some instructors during my training with OETIO who motivated and encouraged me to see my values as a woman in this trade.”
As the construction and skilled trades industry aims to persuade more women to join the workforce, Kenedi shared some advice for those considering a career as an operating engineer.
“Follow your dreams; if I can do it, anyone else can. Keep your head up and get back up if you get knocked down. Keep your mind set on your goals and keep pushing forward.”
Kenedi has taken the learning curves of this industry in stride, only becoming stronger and more prepared for the next challenge. She certainly has no regrets.
She said, “I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people along the way, and like every new experience, it will be nerve-racking at first, but with time and perseverance, it gets easier. Reaching your goals requires determination and a strong mindset; with that, you can do anything, and nobody will get in your way.”
Local 793 and OETIO continue to support and encourage diversity and inclusion in the workplace as part of a longstanding effort to remove barriers to well-paying construction jobs. If you, or someone you know, is interested in an exciting career as an operating engineer, OETIO offers an online information session every second Wednesday as a critical first step. Visit OETIO.com for more information and to register for an online session.