Sydney was born and raised on a farm by Weyburn, SK. She loved being outside helping her dad with chores, and would have to be dragged in at the end of each day. Sydney excelled in school and music, but university just wasn’t for her. She had always enjoyed being outside and working with her hands. She realized that having a job in oil and gas wasn’t a guarantee. That is how she found her way into the world of powerline and she never looked back. Sydney works on a crew in Saskatoon and is currently on maternity leave. With a year left in her apprenticeship she cannot wait to get her Red Seal.
What attracted you to the electricity sector?
I figured it was a stable job. People are always going to need some form of electricity! After working in the oil and gas sector, I realized I needed something a little more predictable.
How do you get into this line of work?
The utility in Saskatchewan runs a bootcamp for applicants to complete. It’s a 2 day event with various tasks. They pick 24 apprentices out of 100 who go to bootcamp. I didn’t quite make it through the bootcamp, but was fortunate to be offered a labourer job to learn the trade. I’m very lucky to have been given that opportunity. I got my 1A right away and then worked with various crews doing all kinds of work. I was indentured just over a year later.
What do you enjoy most about your career?
I love that PLT’s have the opportunity to do a wide array of work. Transmission, distribution, building crew, city crew, district troubleshooting, and much more. Everyday is different!
What qualities make a good Powerline Technician?
The ability to teach, as well as learn. There are always apprentices around. You never know what you may teach someone, or what knowledge that person will take with them their entire career. Same goes for learning and being open to listening, even if it’s the new guy, day one on the job. There is no place for ego anymore in the trades; learning doesn’t stop just because you got that piece of paper.
What is changing in the sector?
Safety. I often get asked if I’m scared at work or consider it a dangerous job. It can be extremely dangerous! There are so many tools put into place now, the job is a lot safer than it once was. You often hear about the “good old days” of free climbing and wearing a T-shirt, but we’ve evolved since then. I put all the knowledge I have into my job everyday and feel confident that me and my crew are safe. “You are your brothers keeper.”
Is there anything else you would like to add?
My biggest tip for anyone, male or female, entering the trade is to find a mentor. Someone who you feel comfortable with; someone you can ask any question to. I wouldn’t be where I am without the help and guidance of a couple coworkers.
What changes in the sector do you see? Share with us on Instagram by tagging us @WOMENOFPLT