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RBC Women in Trades Blog
Posted by Meghan on: September 6, 2017
Her resilient nature as well as her ability to move forward even when challenged are a few reasons Kayla Goertzen did so well as a student at TRU; first in the Women in Trades Training (WITT) program and then as a Plumbing Foundation student. Little did she know how those traits would help her in her path to employment success as well.
Goertzen joined the WITT program in 2013 after a life-long interest in trades which was never really sated. Goertzen’s family owned a roofing business but did not support her desire to pursue a career in trades. She was excited to join the TRU Women in Trades Training (WITT) Exploratory program as it allowed her the opportunity to try a variety of trades that she had never consider. It was the first time in her life where she wasn’t told she could not pursue her desire to trades, and also felt her instructors and classmates were rooting for her to succeed.
After completing the WITT Exploratory program, Goertzen enrolled in the Plumbing foundation program. Schooling was not an easy step for Goertzen to take as the sole provider for a family of five due to her husband’s illness, which has only worsened with time. This is why being chosen as an RBC Bursary recipient helped so much with her debt load as well as with covering living expenses during the six-month program.
After completing the six-month program Goertzen found herself without a job in the field, Very few employers were taking her job applications seriously so she jumped at the chance to join a painting crew knowing it would lead to contacts in the plumbing field. “I knew right away that was the perfect gate because then I would get to meet other plumbing companies working for the contractor. I got to see a couple different plumbing companies and I saw ones that I didn’t like as well as potential companies I wanted to work for as a plumber. I witnessed one company in particular where they were always laughing and having fun; I knew that was the company I wanted to work for. It took me about 2 years after first meeting Justin the owner of Jayco Plumbing to finally get a job. Every time I saw him, I went up to him and said, ‘Hey do you have a job for me yet? This went on for two years!”’. Goertzen knew she’s had to get creative and utilize all the resources given to her during her time in the Plumbing Foundation program if she wanted to get work in the field. she offered Justin a week’s worth of job shadowing to prove her knowledge and abilities. . He agreed to give her two days and Goertzen made sure to make those two days count! Two days later, Justin agreed she did a fantastic job but still had no job offer for her. It was then she suggested Justin consider the WorkBC wage subsidy program, something she’d heard of while at TRU.
“I went out and got the wage subsidy. I jumped through a few hoops and rushed a lot of paperwork. I used every single resource which has been available to me and I’ve needed every single one.”
Utilizing every resource worked to Goertzen’s advantage and Justin hired her immediately. Goertzen has been happily working at Jayco Plumbing ever since. The company is planning to continue her employment after her subsidy is finished this summer. Goertzen plans to continue working at Jayco Plumbing in the future but also hopes to complete her journeyperson plumbing apprenticeship over the next few years. She stressed to future students, “Find the resources and use them. Remember when you find someone you want to work for let them know you have those resources; that’s what it took for me to get the job. “
Goertzen hasn’t let her struggle for a job taint her excitement for the field and would recommend going into a TRU trades program to anyone. In fact when questioned if she would recommend going into a trades program to other women, she was quick to point out, “I would suggest it to all women! “
“I recommended a career in Trades to a lot of my friends. I did end up having to work at Dairy Queen for a short time after my Plumbing program and I’d say to my fellow workers, “Hey you would make a really good electrician, you’ve got good math skills! You should do that and you’ll be making three times as much. Not just women men too” emphasized Goertzen. “You should go into trades, it’s a better life.”
How does the relatives who wouldn’t give Kayla chance at working in the family roofing business or support her interest in the trades feel about her newly found skills? “I wanted to prove them wrong,” Goertzen said with a laugh. “And so I have. Now they actually recommend me to their friends!”
Thank you Kayla Goertzen for showing all future women graduates from Trades programs how to take advantage of the resources available. Kayla’s approach offers another useful tool to help find your path to success. Good luck with all your employment success Kayla!