Q&A with Electrician Vanessa Nokleby

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Vanessa, an electrician, first found her passion through a Women in Trades program, where she was able to explore various trades in a safe and welcoming environment. She encourages more women to invest in themselves; "your future self will thank you!"

How did you get into your skilled trade?

Prior to taking the Construction Electrician foundation program I was blessed to participate in the Indigenous Women In Trades program, hosted by Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops BC, where I could apply my skills and interests to various trades and learn what suited me best within a safe environment. Electrical hooked me theory wise as I enjoy the math (math was always a strong suit growing up because my Dad taught me simple math skills early) and it was satisfying to watch a light bulb turn on after terminating a couple wires. 

What keeps you motivated?

I love to learn new things everyday and the electrical trade has many different avenues to discover in or out of an apprenticeship. Lately I've been interested in learning more about project management and the process behind the scenes. I aspire to take on a leadership role where I can bring a fresh pair of eyes to a team and excel my career into a broader aspect. Much like the life changing women I met at a BCCWITT  Leaders in Trades Program held in Nanaimo, who are so unbelievably strong and I can gratefully say that all of those women I have made connections with and hold a special relationship with common grounds. They are absolutely killing it in their careers as board directors, teaching at universities, working in upper management...Those gals are what really keep me motivated.

I've been most surprised by the amount of career paths one can take in the trades world and how much room there is to advance.

Why is it important to you for women to participate in the skilled trades?

When I meet women on the worksite I find we have similar traits such as keen organization, planning and creativity to name a few. However,  I recently noticed that women and diversity play a key role in team morale that helps reduce the stigma around mental health. The energy we carry can promote positive and healthy changes to the work culture. Good vibes among everyone is of utmost importance to keep the economy flowing. 

What advice or message do you have for girls and women interested in pursuing a career in the trades?

Go for it! Do you enjoy doing something different each day? or travelling? A great thing about my trade is that it has brought me all over the province and has introduced me to some wonderful people along the way. I can bet that if you answered 'yes' to either of my questions, chances are you picked up common trade skills when you were a child.

Have you ever dug to the bottom of the earth at 8 years old? Try Equipment Operating. Enjoy the stimulus of connecting the dots? You're a good problem solver and can read the bigger picture on a blueprint! Take a hot minute to invest in yourself; whether that be an exploratory program or go all in, your future self will thank you!