VANCOUVER - When Leigh Wall was laid off from her job as a legal assistant, she knew she wanted to make a change.
“I wanted to be on my feet, moving round,” Wall says. “I wanted to be active.”
Wall did extensive research about what jobs B.C. employers are looking to fill. “I’ve been in industries where it was difficult to find work.” Wall wanted a job that was in-demand, one where employers “would be knocking on my door” wanting to hire her.
The answer became clear—trades training was the way to go. After looking at what the various trades could offer, Wall decided that heavy duty mechanics would be her vehicle to success.
Wall had no experience working with her hands beyond putting together her own shelves but she saw Vancouver Community College’s introductory course to Heavy Duty/Commercial Transport as a perfect opportunity.
“I knew I would leave with skills I could use,” Wall says. “I would finish the introduction to heavy duty mechanic class and in the very least I could fix my car.”
Since making her decision to re-train in the trades, Wall has completed the program and is now in her second apprenticeship year while working with a company, First Truck Centre Vancouver.
Wall says her employer and co-workers are very supportive, share their extensive experience, and lend a hand at every opportunity.
“A salesman at work who used to be a mechanic asked me if I needed any tools to round out my toolbox,” says Wall. “He brought in a large bucket of tools, including air tools, and just gave them to me.”
Wall has also found a mentor in a female heavy duty mechanic she met at a Skills Canada competition. Wall, defers to her mentor’s extensive experience, simply saying, “She’s a boss.”
The experience has inspired her to help other women enter the trades.
“I want to encourage women to get into the trades and set a good example,” Wall says. “There maybe people with the old fashioned attitude that women can’t do it but we absolutely can.”
Recently Wall met a female high school student about to graduate and enter the electrical trade. Wall gave the younger woman her email address, and offered to be her mentor.
Wall wants to encourage all students, male and female, who might not have any experience to try a trade.
“Don't think just because you’ve never changed your own oil that you can’t do a trade,” says Wall. “During my pre-apprenticeship program I bought a truck for $700. I did several repairs myself and sold it for $1,700.”
Wall says her experience with the trades has been “pretty empowering. Just because you’ve never done it before, it doesn't mean you aren't capable of doing it.”
For more information on the One-Year Blueprint Progress Update visit: https://www.workbc.ca/blueprintaction
For more information on B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint visit: https://www.workbc.ca/skills
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan, visit: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/
British Columbia’s 2022 Labour Market Outlook: http://ow.ly/McutM