Shelby’s dad was a jack of all trades. Along with a well-rounded repertoire, he also inspired his daughter to consider various career trajectories. It was an influence strong enough to encourage Shelby to pursue a career in trades — where women are still notably underrepresented. In the industrial, electrical, and construction trades, for example, a 2018 Canada Labour Force Survey revealed women make up just 3.9 percent of the workforce. To break into the male-dominated field, Shelby knew she would need solid training to go along with her determination. She turned to Mohawk College.
“Shout-out to the women or people of other minorities; we need you!” says Shelby, a 2019 Electrical Engineering Technician Power (442A) program graduate, to aspiring tradespeople. “Ultimately, you can do anything that you put your mind to. I entered my program with the goal of gaining experience and finding work in the field.”
Shelby also enrolled in her program of choice with exposure to the college environment. She first came to Mohawk as an Academic Upgrading student, wanting to improve her grades for future college studies. This initial learning opportunity paved the way for her to undertake the Electrical Engineering Technician Power (442A) offering. Once she was accepted into the program, Shelby discovered a curriculum that was full of opportunities for hands-on experience with a solid theoretical foundation of electricity and electrical circuits.
In modern facilities that replicate real-world environments, Electrical Engineering Technician students learn to problem solve, work in teams, and then execute the theoretical knowledge they have gained. Faculty and staff who have experienced journeypersons lead both the blended theory classes, which are face-to-face and online, as well as the lab components. Through a co-op option, Shelby also had the opportunity to gain valuable work experience through a placement in the field.
“I learned a lot from my mentors and was hired after I graduated from Mohawk College,” says Shelby. “Co-op was the required experience component of my program. I was able to do co-op at Stelco, where I was hired. I now perform the professional duties of my co-op as a paid
Stelco is an independent steelmaker. Its long history starts in 1910 with a forward-thinking partnership between numerous companies. Fast forward 112 years and, today, Stelco has one of the newest and most technologically-advanced integrated steelmaking facilities in North
America. Its products are used in the construction, automotive, energy, appliance, and pipe and tube industries across Canada and the United States as well as in a variety of steel service centres that serve as distributors of steel products.
Stelco is also a company that prides itself on a commitment to its employees and encourages innovation, technological development, and unparalleled customer-service. Shelby says this philosophy reflects her experience at the steelmaker.