Posted on: November 30, 2017
When a woman in a trades program confirms her status as a journeyperson by earning her Red Seal Certification, it often marks the end of their road at Thompson Rivers University, as she will have learned the skills and abilities to make it on her own in the working world. However, as Amber Cachelin has found, it’s not always the end of the support you can receive from TRU, thanks to funding from RBC Women in Trades. Funding is given through bursaries to women in trades programs, but it is also assists women in achieving their career goals; before, during and even after their program ends.
Cachelin graduated from TRU in 2016 with her Red Seal as an Electrician and has been working ever since. while in school, she did not involve herself much with the Women in Trades events, other than agreeing to mentor women who were coming into the electrical foundation program. She had a razor-sharp focus on completing her schooling and found herself working up north for Pyramid Corporations during her third and fourth year of apprenticeship before coming back to Kamloops to work for former classmate Becci Brunooghe at Tusk Automation. While working in the industry, she was pleased to find herself working alongside women on various projects, and found her experiences in the field mostly positive.
It was after a slow work period at Tusk Automation, followed by a medical leave that had Cachelin thinking about starting her own Electrical Company during the fall of 2017. Shortly afterward, Greensleeves Electrical was born. Through funding available at Community Futures Thompson Country, she was able to develop a thorough business plan, and any worry she might have had about starting up a company soon diminished. In fact, Cachelin found the process more manageable than she’d made it out to be.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity. I am enjoying it more than I thought. I’m the type of person where I shy away from stress and responsibility, but I also like to be busy. I find I really like running my own company. There’s only as much stress and responsibility as I want to take on, which is actually quite a lot as I like to be busy”, Cachelin said.
It was this sort of gung-ho attitude about trades work, and owning her own business, that made Cachelin the ideal person to speak to a group of women who were interested in going into trades programs. On October 11, 2017, Cachelin spoke at the ‘RBC Women in Trades Forum’ and shared her experiences as a woman in a trades program at TRU, and in the field afterwards. She spoke eloquently of her experiences, not shying away from talking about the sexism she had experienced in the field, but letting women know any struggles you may have while working are worth it in the end.
After Cachelin spoke at the forum, it was clear she’d make a great alumni representative for a conference on ‘The Art of Leadership’ in Vancouver. With her new status as a business owner, and long-term plan to hire more employees it was clear she’d be a great fit for the conference. The one-day conference featured the likes of Joe Biden, Amanda Lang and other speakers giving their expertise on the art of leadership; something Cachelin will take with her into her business. She spoke highly of Joe Biden’s speech, which showed not only his leadership abilities but his strong advocacy for women in business.
Cachelin was quick to point out the speakers were not only articulate but also inspiring and helped to reinforce her ideas as a new business owner. “A lot of ideas were presented where I’d already kind of come to the conclusions on my own but they were reinforced. I mean, you can come to your own conclusions, which are your own thoughts and ideas, but when other people reinforce them at a leadership conference, it clicks that, ‘Wow, I’m on the right track.’’, Cachelin mused.
Cachelin knows Greensleeves Electrical is still in its infancy, but as business is already booming, she is already looking ahead to the day when she’ll need to hire more workers. She has stated she would not hesitate in the slightest to hire women from a TRU Trades and Technology program and is already thinking about the employer that she’d like to be for future employees.
“The biggest thing is keeping morale up. If you have poor morale, you’re going to have no productivity. People are going to be counting down the minutes until the end of the day and pounding their head against the wall to get me out of here, but if you make it an exciting place to work and people actually like their jobs it’ll make all the difference,” Cachelin stated of future plans.
Not only did Cachelin take away a lot from her time at the ‘Art of Leadership,’ she has the makings of an excellent leader herself and is an outstanding representative from the TRU School of Trades.