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Home » Future of Work » A Q&A With Motivational Speaker and Tradeswoman Shannon Tymosko
Skilled Trades

A Q&A With Motivational Speaker and Tradeswoman Shannon Tymosko

Shannon Tymosko

We talked to Shannon Tymosko, electrical apprentice with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, about her career in the trades and her journey to get there.

What do you think is the biggest myth when it comes to a career in skilled trades?

I have heard many times women are not strong enough to work in construction. This statement leads me to believe that the only thing of value are the physical strengths someone may possess. What about the other skills women have been found strong at, such as multi-tasking, communication, and organization? I believe these skills and assets are just as important as physical strength, and that there is a place for everyone on the construction site.

How did your education and training prepare/benefit your career in trade?

As a third-year apprentice, I am still in my training to become an electrician and journeyperson. In Ontario, the basic requirements to become an electrician include 9,000 hours of hands-on learning in the field.

This often takes roughly five years, and throughout that time you attend schooling. There are three levels of trades school to attend where you learn the science and theory, and expand on things seen in the field.

The apprenticeship process values real-life experiences, hands-on learning, and schooling to create qualified skilled trades workers, that can be a benefit to an employer at all stages.

How can we start to bridge the gender gap within the skilled trades industry?

By having conversations with both young boys and girls about how everyone has different strengths to bring to the table, we can start eliminating the conditioning that limits so many young people. If you can see it, you can be it, and through education, we can start to empower the next generation.

What are your top tips for women out there trying to navigate a male-dominated industry?

Being a woman in the skilled trades today means that we are still a minority, are underestimated, and are trailblazers for other women to follow. It means you must be strong, self-aware, and realistic that you are still in a man’s world.

Actions often speak louder than words, and sadly we are frequently judged and held to a different standard, meaning we always must work harder than the next. Be persistent, be strong, and show the young women of tomorrow that they too can do whatever they desire.

Don’t compete with your sisters, there is so much room for us all! Reach out and connect with community groups and organizations and make new friends on social media. Chances are high there are other women just like you wanting and needing to connect and relate!

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