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“KickAssCareer” in Trades: November 4th, 2015

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

‘Kickass career’ in trades

Niagara high school girls encouraged to explore career options

NIAGARA FALLS — Jamie McMillan asked the 200 high school girls gathered in a ballroom at the Hilton Fallsview hotel in Niagara Falls how many would like to earn $1,000 a week.

Many hands went up.

“If you’d like to earn $2,000 a week, raise two hands,” she told the crowd on Tuesday. A lot more hands went up. “If you’d like to earn $3,000 to $8,000 a week, stand up,” she said. Every single girl rose from their seats. McMillan, a certified welder and ironworker from Hamilton who just recently also became an industrial boilmaker, was keynote speaker at the District School Board of Niagara’s third annual Empowering Young Women conference. McMillan and other mentors in sectors such as motive power that includes the automotive and aerospace industries, construction, hospitality, industrial, construction and horticulture spent the day with girls from nearly 20 DSBN high schools from across Niagara, encouraging them to consider careers in skilled trades. Along with healthy paycheques, skilled tradespeople are increasingly in demand: Skills Ontario said more than 400,000 skilled workers will retire in the next 15 years, creating a massive need for young blood. McMillan told the girls it’s just about good money: as a contract worker, she gets to pick and choose where and when she works. She’s worked in gas plants in Alberta and potash mines in Saskatoon. “There’s a vast amount of kickass jobs in construction,” she said. “A kickass career means a kickass life.” Last summer, while working in Alberta she’d knock off at the end of the day and climb the Rocky Mountains and drink water from glaciers thousands of years old.