Thursday, 6 June 2013

Meet Emily Kerr—steel fabricator

This week, the Skills Canada National Competition -- a multi-trade and technology competition for students and apprentices from across the country --  is taking place in Vancouver.

Emily Kerr (photos from her collection)

Emily Kerr, from Abbotsford B.C,. is working on her first of a four year steel fabricating apprenticeship through Burnaby's British Columbia Institute of Technology. At 20 years old, she already has her future in her trade all hammered out.
"I want to take welding courses and eventually get my pressure tickets so I can work in camps in Alberta or Northern B.C. After a number of years in the trade I would love to take some project management courses and perhaps get into that. As it stands now I want to get a firm grasp of the trade and really develop my skills, " says Kerr.

Kerr's trades journey started in 2011 when she took Trades Discovery for Women at BCIT. She was soon offered an apprenticeship at a steel fabrication company. In April of this year she went back to school to continue her training.

Kerr says following a career path that has been more stereotypically male, is just a natural progression for her.

"Growing up I spent a lot of time on farms and out in the wilderness fishing, biking, riding horses and hiking. So, I definitely was always a bit of a Tomboy with a girly side," she says. Kerr still prefers to be outdoors and active.

Kerr taking aim.

Kerr with her animal friends.

Kerr says she also enjoys being 'girly' by dressing up, changing her hair colour and going out with friends.

Kerr, now a brunette, dressed to go out with friends.

"People are usually surprised to hear I am a fabricator until they see my hands," laughs Kerr.

When it comes to the gender divide, Kerr says women shouldn't shy away from the trades, but they should know what they are getting into.

"Any female can do it. With that being said, you can't be afraid to get dirty and work hard. It's a completely different pace than working any sort of retail or customer service job. You have to be strong and confident to keep up with the guys," she says.

Are you interested in the trades? Let us know your story.

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