Nova Scotia

Emera looking for women to work on the Maritime Link project

Emera Newfoundland and Labrador is seeking more women to work on the Maritime Link hydro-electric project.

Women underrepresented in trades, says NSCC chair

Emera Newfoundland and Labrador is seeking more women to work on the Maritime Link hydro-electric project.

It sponsored an event this week at the NSCC Marconi campus in Sydney to outline opportunities and give students a chance to speak with women working in the field.

The workshop called “Quick Connect”, was open to first and second-year female students enrolled in trades and technology.

The academic chair for NSCC's school of trades and technology, Tina Kelly, said it’s a great opportunity for students.

“It’s very reflective of our student population. The women who are attracted to underrepresented fields tend to come from a wide variety of backgrounds and these women who are role models who will work with our students tend to be the same, so it helps our students to see themselves in these women who are more advanced in their careers.” said Kelly.

“It gives them an opportunity to start building their own connections and building their own networks for employment later on in their careers.”

Some of the mentors on site included women working in fields of occupational health and safety, welding, automotive industrial mechanics, project managers, construction managers and industrial electricians.

Kelly says women are still underrepresented in trades and technology.

“In these particular fields employment rates can be anywhere from as low as three to four per cent, sometimes getting as high as 20 per cent, but not very often. So Emera and NSCC and a number of other partners have looked towards, how can we help increase those numbers? It’s a missed opportunity," she said.

Christina Daisley is a carpentry student at NSCC Marconi. She’s hoping to get work on the Maritime Link project.

It is hard for women, they think they can’t do it, and they can.- Janet Somers 

“Now women are everywhere and we can do everything that a man can do. In some cases we can do it better, in some cases we can’t, but it’s really good for women to be out in the workforce, and the diversity clause with Emera, it’s amazing.”

This is the second workshop that Daisley has attended.

"It’s done amazing things, I’ve worked a little bit in the trades before I came to school here, but with these women it’s so empowering.”

Janet Somers owns her own refrigeration business in Sydney. She was one of the mentors at the workshop and she says she wants to show female students they can make a living in trades.

“It is hard for women, they think they can’t do it, and they can. All you have to do is give somebody a little bit of confidence, they can do it.”

Kelly hopes the workshop will pay off for the students.

“Women in trades and technology do a lot of work to choose the careers that they’re going to do, they do a lot of research and usually choose quite well, but a lot of things can happen along the way and without the supportive network of people that you can go to and know that are out there, it can make all the difference in retaining women through their careers.”

The Maritime Link transmission line will bring power to be generated at the under-construction Muskrat Falls megaproject in Labrador to Nova Scotia, via Newfoundland.