NORCAT hosts TrailblazHers Career Showcase

SUDBURY -- Grade seven and eight female students in Sudbury got an up-close and personal perspective of careers in technology and skilled trades as NORCAT hosted the TrailblazHers Careers showcase on Thursday.

Grade eight student Emily Venna tried her hand at welding, something she never imagined having the opportunity to experience.

"I was welding on virtual reality and it was a cool experience because I got to see like what one of the jobs is," she commented.

"Youth is our new generation coming in, so that's why we are trying to entice them, showing them the opportunities if there is an intention in actually wanting to pursue a career in the trades… we want them to entertain the carpentry trade if there is an appetite for it," said Rheal Gelanas, Carpenters Union Local 2486.

During the event, girls put a fire out using an augmented reality extinguisher.

"It looks real but it's not dangerous, so you get to see how you actually get to do it and you get to learn," said Keyanna Knuff, grade eight student.

"I would really like the students to see this as an opportunity for potential careers later on, and not to feel like it is something they can't do. The equipment is not that heavy, the tools are not that bad, it's nothing that your grandparents did, you can go home and still have a family," explained Dayle Cecchetto, NORCAT Youth Trainer.

The keynote speaker was Timmins native Jamie McMillan, a Journeyman Ironworker and Boilermaker and founder of Kickass Careers, which inspires youth to consider careers in the trades.

"Skilled trades literally changed everything about my life, and it's a career that makes me very happy, very empowered and this is something young women and young men, while they are in school, to consider these pathways," said McMillan.

McMillan says right now, women make up four per cent of the skilled trade workforce.

In the next couple of years, one in five jobs will be in skilled trades.

Article and video originally published by CTV News Northern Ontario