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Cambrian College Hosts Jill of All Trades

Oct 26, 2023

Cambrian College’s Jill of All Trades event this year included a panel of industry experts discussing how to encourage more women to pursue careers in skilled trades.

Manitoulin Secondary School student Alexis McVey mixes cement under the guidance of faculty member David Parent as part of a Civil Engineering demonstration during the Jill of All Trades event at Cambrian College.

SUDBURY – Across Canada, thousands of well-paying jobs in skilled trades and technology are up for grabs, for men and women alike.

To encourage more girls and young women to take advantage of those opportunities, Cambrian College and numerous industry partners and sponsors teamed up again this year to present Jill of All Trades.

More than 150 female high school students from Greater Sudbury and Manitoulin Island were on Cambrian’s main campus for tours of trades labs and hands-on workshops involving skilled trades.

One of those students was Alexis McVey, a grade 11 student from Manitoulin Secondary School in M’Chigeeng, who is interested in electrical and engineering trades and took part in a cement-making and strength-testing workshop in Cambrian’s Civil Engineering lab.

High school students get a demonstration in cement strength testing during a Civil Engineering lab at Cambrian College as part of Jill of All Trades.

“A lot of that interest in trades is because of my robotics team. I helped build a robot and I see how it comes together. I love designing and seeing how the product comes out.”

Students also had an opportunity to meet with industry professionals.

“This is such an important event, and the support from industry has been amazing, with more than 50 companies and organizations coming on board as event sponsors and partners,” said Renee Scott, Cambrian’s Director of Student Success and Recruitment. “Employers from across all trades and technology fields are looking for people right now, and they feel events like Jill of All Trades will help develop skilled workers for today and tomorrow. We encourage more women to think about a career in trades and technology because they are needed and wanted by industry.”

A highlight of Jill of All Trades was an industry panel on October 25th. Representatives from various companies discussed what it being done to support women in trades, and how to encourage more to pursue careers.

The panel discussion was moderated by Alison De Luisa, Cambrian’s Vice-President of Human Resources and Student Services.

This year’s panelists include:

  • Dustin Ceretti, Mine Director, Glencore, Sudbury
  • Gord Gilpin, Director of Ontario Operations, Vale
  • Dale Rakochy, Product Line Manager, Sandvik
  • Joan Strawn, Health and Safety Coordinator, Damisona Roofing
  • Julie Zulich, President and CEO, TESC Contracting Company

“In the construction industry, women make up only about two percent of the labour positions, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that, for a long time, these trades have been looked down upon socially as some of the less desirable positions a person can hold,” said panelist Joan Strawn. “We’re seeing a shift now that the trades are actually well-paying, stable positions, and a woman can actually support her family and have a fulfilling career.”

“The panelists offered incredible insights into what they are doing to promote more women in trades and technology, and their participation in Jill of All Trades demonstrates their commitment to ensure more women are pursuing these well-paying, satisfying careers,” added Alison De Luisa.

Cambrian offers more than 25 programs in skilled trades, engineering technology, environmental studies, and workplace safety.

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Cambrian College is Northern Ontario’s largest college, with more than 100 programs. Cambrian’s main campus is in Greater Sudbury, with satellite centres in Espanola and Little Current. For more information about Cambrian College, click here.

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We acknowledge and respect that we are gathered on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe People of Turtle Island and proudly recognize our local host Atikameksheng Anishnawbek. We also recognize the contributions of Wahnapitae First Nation and the Metis Nation of Ontario.

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