Jaimey Fulford is an Apprentice Powerline Technician with Oakville Hydro, a St. Clair College Alumni, advocates for women in trades and is celebrated in a newly released children’s book; Everyday Superheroes: Women in Energy Careers.
Can you share with us what led you to pursue a career as a Powerline Technician?
Growing up in rural Ottawa exposed me to a lot of labor-intensive career choices, most of which were skilled trades. I had trouble sitting still in the classroom being taught academics, but when I applied my academic knowledge to hands-on trade-related work things made sense. That moment was completely influential on my career path, from that point on I could see myself enjoying being able to use both my hands and mind at the same time. While in high school I took part in the Specialist High Skill Major (SHSM) program and did a cop-op with a residential electrician. I enjoyed the learning experience but I was looking for more, making a pros and cons list was helpful while deciding which trade I wanted to explore. While researching career choices I stumbled on the Powerline Technician trade, every aspect of the job sparked my interest. From that point on I applied to college and reached out to networking groups to help navigate my way into the trade.
What have you been most proud of to date in your career?
Something I’ve been most proud of while working as a Powerline Technician is that I never let myself believe I couldn’t when I could. Something so simple can also be very powerful, belittling yourself helps nobody. I continue to strive for successful learning experiences, not everything I do can be as perfect as the next but I don’t let a bump in the road stop me. I will learn from the mistakes I make, not dwell on them, and continue to learn and grow to be the best working professional I can be. There was a point in time when I thought that maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a PLT, but what would giving up at this point teach me? I love the work I do daily, I enjoy learning, the outdoor work environment is something I enjoy, having a physically demanding job keeps me motivated, etc. What was stopping me? My own belief that I just wasn’t enough with no actual data to support this self-accusation. I’m proud of my mindset, work ethic, and capabilities to adapt and grow from work experiences.
- You’re in a children’s book, Everyday Superheroes: Women in Energy Carers. Can you tell us about the book and where we can find you in the book?
I’m so excited to be a part of the book, Everyday Superheroes: Women in Energy Careers, as 1 of 34 Energy Superheroes with one of my superpowers being observation. This book is so important because it shows the young readers not only different job opportunities but modern-day women working in these careers. It shows passionate female workers navigating male-dominated fields. Sometimes educating about energy jobs can be hard to grasp as such a young age, this book provides resources to learn about multiple energy careers with detailed information regarding the job title. Those books are extremely accessible and are a great resource for wandering minds to learn about women in STEM careers. You can find Mackenize and me on pages 58 and 59, we both get the opportunity to showcase our careers and equally share our love and passion for our trade.
Why is it essential that young women and girls see women such as yourself, represented in energy careers?
Navigating a career path that is predominately a male-run industry can be scary. Being able to see real-life working class women enjoy their job in an underrepresented trade be alter not only a person’s perspective but their mindset on the reality of gender equality in today’s industry. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, you’re a professional that is also capable of doing the work. Some may think they’re not strong enough, tough enough, big enough, etc., but those aren’t the only ingredients required to be good enough. Where some may lack, you could excel. I do hope that my working in a career that I thoroughly enjoy helps someone gain the confidence to explore a career in a skilled trade.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
The last point I’d like to share with readers interested in joining a trade would be to reach out to peer support groups. While beginning college in the Powerline Technician program I found Women of PLT, a support group full of diversity within the trade. This group helped me gain confidence on this amazing journey that I get to call my career. I was able to reach out to women that were working in the field, everyone was really helpful whenever I had questions or was simply interested in something. Finding people that will encourage you and help you succeed is a lot more fun than trying to navigate career interests on your own. There are plenty of amazing groups that will support you.