As a not-for-profit organization, Skills Canada-Ontario is dedicated to promoting the skilled trades and technologies as viable, first-choice career options for Ontario youth. One of their programs is geared towards young women: 'Skills Work! For Women' Networking Dinners.
These events are held throughout the year at various locations in Ontario and it's an opportunity for young women in grades 9-12 to meet and network with women (called 'mentors') who work in a skilled trade (e.g. auto service technician, industrial mechanic (millwright), electrician, painter, information technologist, hairdresser, chef, etc).
Last night, I attended the event held at Centennial College's Ashtonbee Campus. As mentors, we talk about our journey and experience in the skilled trades. What an average day is like for us, what types of equipment we use, our skills and training, advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in the trade, some challenges and successes in our career, educational requirements for the job, how apprenticeship works, etc.
The question/answer period is interesting as the high school girls have a chance to ask us what they really want to know... usually questions about pay scale, how we adapt to our environment (especially if we're in a male-dominated career), what did our family and friends think of our career choice, etc. It's also a good time as many of these girls are tailoring their high school courses to their chosen career. So it's beneficial to know what subjects will help them in the trade, for example maths and sciences are important as an auto service technician.
If your daughter is thinking of a career in the skilled trades, the networking dinners are a great way to get connected with tradeswomen.
For information on Skills Canada, click here.
From our side of the counter, there are a few things that go a long way in helping us reduce wasted time when it comes to working on your car. Below is a list of some suggestions and things to keep in mind the next time you bring your car in for service. Granted, there are ways around some of the items (e.g. if the owner’s manual isn’t available, we have access to most information on fluid specifications through our service manuals) so it’s not that we can’t service your car without your full participation of this list. These are suggestions—friendly requests, really.
At least half tank of fuel—we know you’re rushing to get to one appointment after another but I can’t stress this one enough. Almost always we need to road test the car, before and after repairs, and sometimes we need to run the car in the shop for an extended period of time (i.e., coolant fluid service, diagnosing engine idling issues, etc.)
Ownership & proof of insurance—in case we get pulled over during the road test... this helps ward off any thoughts that we stole your car
Wheel lock key (if applicable)—we won't be able to get the tires off without it. It's best to let us know where the key is kept...lest we go rummaging through your glovebox, trunk, storage compartment, etc. Oh, the things we find when searching for wheel locks! That could be its own blog post altogether...
List of symptoms, concerns, issues, etc.—Have this list ready ahead of time, especially if the issues aren't straightforward. It's much better to think about issues you'd like us to address ahead of time, rather than trying to rhyme them off when you're in a rush to leave the repair shop to catch your ride to work
Previous work orders, invoices, etc.—It helps us to know the history of the car particularly in relation to any issue or concern that you may have
Owner's manual—it contains fluid specifications/quantities, as well as maintenance light reset procedures.
Radio code—in some vehicles, after disconnecting the car battery the radio will ask for a code before letting you listen to your favourite tunes
Keep your personal items—when you drop off your car, leave only your car keys. Don't forget to take with you any items you may need—ID badges, phone, house or office keys, etc.
Image via freedigitalphotos.