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Success Stories 

Amber (Journeywoman Start) 

When Amber, a fully qualified conductor with CP, first thought about a job in trades, the railroad was not the first industry to come to mind. “I honestly wouldn’t have even thought twice about working for the railroad,” she said. “It didn’t cross my mind as an option; but the railroader lifestyle is a perfect fit for me. I like having weekdays off and working nights. The shift work works well with my current lifestyle. So for me, it’s a perfect fit.” Amber is an alumni of our Journeywoman Start program, and spent 17 weeks exploring opportunities in trades across an array of industries. While railroading is typically a pre-dominately male industry, Amber assures others that there is lots of room for women at the railroad. "If you're looking for a long time career go for it," she said. “Don’t let the industry intimidate you, don’t let the typical stereotypes scare you as well."Times have changed.”

Success Story - Gloria
Gloria (Journeywoman Start) 

“I had never considered trades. I’m the first girl in my family to be in the trades.”Gloria first heard about Women Building Futures from a coworker in customer service at a home hardware store. Though she’d worked retail most of her life, she was intrigued by what she heard about WBF and decided to apply.“I thought it would be impossible to get in, so when I did I thought it was a dream come true,” Gloria said. She quit her job and got into the Journeywoman Start program. For Gloria, the best part of her experience was how capable she felt after she graduated. “You get out of your bubble and your comfort zone….For me it was the best thing I’ve ever done, by far.”

Kim (Journeywoman Start) 

When Kim came to WBF she was a young mother with three children and working as a bartender. She was determined to give her children the best life possible. Through her research, Kim found Women Building Futures’ Journeywoman Start program. “The four months of school was the most intense, motivating, and best time of my life. I learned so much about myself and what I can accomplish” Kim shares. “WBF has given me the tools and the skills I need to be a confident and proud tradesperson. I feel very proud of myself to have come so far in a short amount of time. WBF changed my life for the better, and it will change the futures of other women as well. I am also proud to be a mentor to many other women coming into the trades.”

Jackie Cassidy
Jackie (Journeywoman Start) 

When Jackie moved to Edmonton, she was working as a physical care aid for people with disabilities, but was struggling to make ends meet. Jackie tried working in administration at an office, but it wasn’t really for her. She’d always liked to roll up her sleeves, get her hands dirty and see the results of her labours. The radio advertisement for Women Building Futures piqued Jackie’s interest. She came to an information session with an idea of going into heavy equipment operation but was drawn to welding. Jackie graduated from the Journeywoman Start program and was indentured as an apprentice shortly after. Five years later, Jackie completed her apprenticeship and is now a certified Journeyman welder making more than three times her wage as a physical care aid. Jackie has also inspired her two daughters; one is indentured as an autobody painter and her other daughter is thinking about becoming a mechanic.

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Star (Journeywoman Start)

Star always knew she wanted to be in the trades; she loves the physical work and the feeling of accomplishment. She had heard about Women Building Futures (WBF) on the radio, but it was her sister who attended an information session and then pushed her to apply. What really grabbed her attention about the WBF Journeywoman Start program were the two weeks of safety tickets and the one-week workshops of the seven most common trades. This allowed Star to get the hands-on experience that she was looking for. Star took a practical approach to the trade that she chose. As she says, “I thought about my circumstances and living situation and picked the most appropriate trade accordingly, which was plumbing, for reasons such as: there is always work, it’s one of the higher paying trades, it’s in town and the hours work with my lifestyle.”

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Angela (Heavy Equipment Operator) 

Angela had worked most of her career in retail and banking before she drove to Edmonton from Moncton, New Brunswick with hopes of securing work as a laborer. Instead she found the Women Building Futures Heavy Equipment Operator Program. When asked why she applied to the program, Angela replied, “I like getting dirty and I’ve always been fascinated with big machinery and equipment,” she says. “I just never had an opportunity to get on one and operate one until now.” Angela highly recommends WBF and says it provides a wonderful opportunity for women to get their feet wet and decide what area of construction is right for them. As Angela said, “The program gives you a taste of different equipment so you can see what you like better. For myself, I was not interested in the excavator at all. But when I got on it, within two minutes, I loved it! It became a part of me.” Now Angela’s goal is to have a lifelong career in construction. Her current job is her first construction job and she is also the first female operator her company has hired.

April (Class 1 Driver Program) 

As a young girl, April imagined herself driving a big truck when she grew up. Her opportunity to make it a reality came when she decided to take the WBF Professional Class 1 Driver Program. Now she’s behind the wheel moving all kinds of freight around the city. Her new career has allowed her to meet great people and be a part of a team. “I’ve gone from dreaming about being a truck driver to manoeuvring a big truck around the city, transporting all kinds of freight. Plus, I get to be home every night and off on weekends. Keep going towards your goals and your dreams. Just because you’re a girl doesn’t mean you can’t do it.”

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Amber (Journeywoman Start) 

Amber tried a desk job but knew she wanted a career that would allow her to work with her hands and build things. Her desire to constantly learn new skills and enjoy the smell of the wood in a workshop compelled her to participate in a WBF Journeywoman Start program. After four years of hard work, she became a journeyman electrician and got her Blue Seal for business competency; and she wanted to keep on learning. Now she’s an apprentice welder and planning to become dual-ticketed. “This path isn’t for everyone. There were days I wanted to quit because it was so hard. But I’ve also had days when I’d never felt prouder of myself. I love looking at a finished product and thinking ‘I built that!’ I have the confidence now to do some of the basic tasks that girls just aren’t taught to do. There are so many amazing things about working in a trades job.”

Cara Wilson
Cara (Ironworker Readiness) 

Cara is a mother to three beautiful girls. Before her program at WBF, she worked for a charter bus company. Despite working hard in her role, Cara was not getting ahead and it was taking a toll on her both mentally and physically. During a visit to Alberta Works to explore her options, she was directed to WBF to attend an information session. Shortly after, Cara applied to a WBF program, met the qualifications, and successfully completed her training. Cara started her journey in ironworking and has recently transitioned her skills to sheet metal. She attributes her success to having a great work ethic, a positive attitude, and being a proud member of a team. The proudest moment for Cara has been seeing her confidence transfer to her three girls. They’re so proud of their mom.