Gidday there Mate, Look don't ever think that being a female is any sort of a hinderance to being an Electrician. I've trained 2 female apprentices and I reckon they are better than some of the boys I've trained. One of my best apprentices is now Chief Electrician at Pukeuri Freezing Works here in New Zealand. No tip of my hat, it was all her that did it. She only done well because she wanted to get in and get her hands dirty and was willing to listen. Most parts of training here in NZ, is "come over here and have a look at this", some of our young people aren't interested, if you are, get into it I say, one instance of that helped me pass my Trade Certificate Exam. Also Girl Germs, Welcome to ECN, Nice to have you along. Cheers, Mike.
[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 11-22-2006).]
I've got to find out when I can challenge the exam at the local college since the union doesn't recognize anything but. Or send in the full curriculum from my course and wait months while they decide if it's equivalent. So, union is probably a good bet, but they won't even say hello to me at this point, I have to jump through that little hoop first.
question: if I get on board with the union, does that then mean that I can't accept work from a non-union shop? how easy is it to quit/rejoin the union later? Don't know much about what the union does exactly.
PS: I can handle heavy work to a reasonable degree (100lbs-more if it's not too awkward, I can lift my boyfriend - 170lbs), and if there's no washroom anywhere closeby, well I'm sure I could make friends with a bush. Not like we women have never been away from the city before.
I used to get in trouble at one of my previous workplaces for lifting the same equipment the guys did every day... They were worried I'd get injured and file a WCB claim, but not the guys??? It's not like the guys were real muscleheads or anything, ordinary string beans really. Go figure.
I would not, at this point, sweat the union thing. Before you can make a choice, you have to be qualified first.
Right now, it's all about the training. Training through the union is superb. It is universally recognised. It can result in a college degree.
Nor would I, at this point, worry to much about "a few years down the road." Fact is, you will find learning the trade a great preparation for several other things. For example, your understanding of jobsites can set the stage for becomming an inspector or project manager when you're a bit older, and running up and down ladders all day has lost its' charm.
Think of a "journeyman card" as the beginning of the journey, rather than the end!
Girl Germs One way to get ahead is to be polite, hungry for knowledge, keep a neat personal appearance, keep asking for details that will feed your mind. Get a Benfield bending kit and you can outbend men who've done it for years. Study PLC's or go to work for a contractor who does energy management work and learn how to do the complicated stuff requiring a bunch of tiny wires, learn programming, learn motor control wiring, seek out the things that require brains, it is ok if you never spend all day pulling 8,000 pounds of 500 MCM copper, get a copy of Soares' Grounding Electrical Sys. for Safety, get really good at stuff most guys are not real sharp about. And when you get there, remind the non-thinkers that it is "Journeywomen", one who has skills and is able to journey from shop to shop to Master this stuff. Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself, I can barely handle a 1,000 foot spool of 12-3, can't imagine handeling say, 500' of 2/0, ask for help. Tell those crusty bas&%$#s who run that "I expect you to work as hard as the guys do" that's fine, but they wouldn't expect a skinny little dude to hoist more than he could SAFELY carry, nor should they put you in a position where you could hurt yourself. Lots of men can hoist the heavy burdens, yet can't troubleshoot a mis-wired 3 way switch. I would prefer technicians who are sharp with the technology and techniques and polite to the customers. Think how can I be of service here? Great Good Luck to you.
I'm really glad I found this board, it's nice to have a space to ask questions and get honest answers from a variety of viewpoints, where everyone can let down their guard a bit because of the relative anonymity. It's great to get the pep talks and also get a clearer view of where the friction might be coming from.
Thanks everyone for all your input. I was wondering if I was maybe missing something, but the responses here have let me know I'm on the right track, I'll just keep at it and eventually I'll break through. A good dose of confidence does wonders. =)
I was a apprentice with 5000 hours and just recentley left the field. The whys are not really inportant but this website and group of people have been the greatest. These are the best of the best when it comes to helping people out. My only advice would be to be alert and stay safe. Always watch for trip and falling hazards.Dont be afraid to use the chat room. These are the most professional people you will ever talk to on the internet. Be safe and good luck to you. Steve Ancient Apprentice Yes i got the name because im 48 years old