Shannon Tymosko is a soon to be 3rd year Electrical Apprentice and an advocate for the skilled trades. She originally completed a Child and Youth work diploma where she found a passion for people, mental health and learning. Throughout her twenties, she worked in a shelter for homeless youth, alongside a career in finance where she worked her way through different positions, earning store awards, and advancing other employees and herself into a head office position.
The IBEW is a union and represents electrical workers throughout North America. Shannon says, “My Local 105 in Hamilton has taken me on as an apprentice and provided me with hands-on industry experience along with some in class training.” She is one of very few women in her local and is grateful that the Business Manager and the mass majority of the hall members are supportive and on board with getting more women in the skilled trades. This helps towards changing the industry standards and allows women and men to work together.
Shannon believes, “We all have strengths and weaknesses inherently woman and men often differ in these; it is together that we work better.” According to her, working with the IBEW ensures she gets paid well, all while getting a healthy day’s exercise. Exercise is so important for both the physical and mental health of humans, and it is a natural benefit of the skilled trades.
She adds, “I am blessed to say this journey has also taken me on a route of advocacy as an Ambassador for KickAss careers. This allows me to take my passion for people that she found while being a Child and Youth Worker and combine it with my new love for the skilled trades.”
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between the World’s Leaders and Shannon Tymosko.
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in this industry through your advocacy for the skilled trades?
Being an advocate for the skilled trades, I have been blessed to present and speak to people and youth about the benefits of the skilled trades and why I love them so much. Throughout the last year, I have facilitated workshops and done electrical demonstrations for youth throughout the school board. I enjoy the opportunity to speak as a panelist, podcast guest, motivational/educational speaker; any opportunity to reach someone who may be interested in a similar path and looking for inspiration. I am active on most major social media platforms, using them to help promote, encourage, and educate people about the skilled trades.
What does it mean to you to be a woman in the skilled trades?
Being a woman in the skilled trades today means that I am still a minority, underestimated and a trailblazer for other women to follow. It means I must be strong, self-aware, and realistic that I am still in a man’s world. I must be patient and not push for change, but be an ambassador and advocate for change
What people, what books, what life factors have influenced and impacted you?
One of the big things I have learned from life is that you never get a break from the demands of bills, and most people live life from pay cheque to pay cheque, unprepared for any unexpected added expense. Due to this, I have learnt the importance of loving what you do, along with finding a job that can allow you to thrive, not just survive on your own.
Taking into consideration the current pandemic, how has it affected you and your industry?
I have been blessed to maintain work throughout the majority of the pandemic, as construction is an industry that is often found essential work. I have come to genuinely love my job, and being an Electrical Apprentice keeps me physically and mentally healthy, all while helping me stay financially secure. I feel challenged, engaged, and proud of the work I do. There is an amazing sense of pride and accomplishment you get when you finish a project and can say, “I built that.” I now have the confidence to take on different home projects and repairs. During COVID-19 I learned how to change my car’s oil, and now I have done 3 and counting. This has allowed me to save a few bucks while using higher quality oil and filters, than what is typically used at random shops. I am not afraid to pick up a new tool and try something different, and this has helped increase my confidence and self-esteem. No two projects are 100% alike in the trades, and inevitably, I learn something new almost every day I go to work. Because of this, I have developed the courage to try new things, fall, stand back up, and repeat until success; confidence is built by competence, and this is the formula.
Where do you envision yourself being in the long run and what are your future goals as a business leader?
I envision myself being an advocate and leader for women and young people everywhere. A place where people can go for support, ideas, and mentorship. I hope to encourage and influence positive change in the industry and culture.
What would be your advice to people considering the skilled trades?
I chose the skilled trades and electrical because it was a job that I enjoyed and that allowed me to have my wants as well as the possibility of retiring.Because of my experiences, I believe it is critical that you take the time to try new things, research opportunities, get your hands dirty, and explore your passions, while remaining realistic in the knowledge that you will have to support yourself in your dreams one day.The skilled trades are a realistic and great career for any woman or man.