Women In Trades Week

The Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board(HSCDSB) boasts a variety of programs which
encourage female students to contemplate a career in the trades. As we celebrate Women in
Trades Week, we highlight a pair of female students exploring the trades as a career.

Options available to secondary students at St. Mary’s College with a focus on the trades include
regular technology classes, Cooperative Education, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program,
Dual Credits, and Specialist High Skills Majors.

“Women in Trades Week recognizes the expertise that women offer and highlights that success in
the skilled trades is not always determined by gender. We have some passionate young women
here at St. Mary’s College and we’re proud to see them advocating for young women to chase
their interests, regardless of gender norms,” said HSCDSB Experiential Learning Lead, Paula

Hailly Poole, a Grade 12 student at St. Mary’s College, is immersed in her Co-op placement at APR
Welding Academy. She has always had an interest in working in the trades, and with good reason,
“My biggest inspiration was definitely my parents. I saw them as role models and wanted to be
part of building a better place and seeing the results of my work.”

Once a male dominated field, the trades have evolved in recent years, and the move to hire more
females has accelerated, in part, due to the demand for tradespeople. Hailly saw this as an
opportunity and enrolled in technology classes at St. Mary’s College to begin her journey, “I like to
be different. I like to pursue what I want to do. It might put me in a spot where I might be the
only female, but I’m there.”

Hailly says her Co-op placement at APR Welding Academy has strengthened her resolve in having
a career in the trades, “It made me want to do this even more. It made me feel like, okay, I can do
this and I’m going to take those steps that I need to get there.”

Grace Agawa is a Grade 12 student enrolled in the Dual Credit Program which is hosted at Sault
College. She is doing a placement at Integrity Heavy Repair in Heyden and currently puts in a full
day at the shop.

The people here are really nice, good to get along with. I’ve already learned that I don’t know as
much as I thought I did in the short time I’ve been here,” says Agawa.

Agawa describes how she gravitated to the trades, “My grandparents owned a trailer park, and I
grew up around large motorized equipment and helped in the maintenance of it. So I developed a
high interest in it and asked for a co-op placement and my teacher found me this one.”
“Having women in trades is fantastic. I’ve trained lots of women over the years and four have
gone on to get their Red Seal certification. What’s really impressed me with Grace is how much
she is wanting to know things. Even if she doesn’t chose this trade its great that she interested in
the trades,” said Integrity Heavy Repair Co-Owner Brendan Nardi.

What advice would our budding tradespeople have for fellow students?
“I think it’s really eye opening because you step in to a field that’s normally a man’s job. But, you
step into it and realize I have a shot at this. You can make good money. It can be dirty work, but I
think that makes it fun,” says Grace.

“Don’t be scared, I know sometimes it may feel like a scary environment, especially filled with
boys but the trades need girls, it needs to be known that its a place for both men and women.
And it’s fun, it’s a lot of fun and I would definitely recommend it,” says Hailly.

To learn more of what the HSCDSB has to offer young women looking to become tradespeople
visit the board website www.hscdsb.on.ca

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