When I first started working at Atikokan, I didn’t know anything about the forest products industry. I was just looking for a job. I’ve learned so much in a year, and I know there are more opportunities to explore. Also, you don’t need to be in forestry to work at a mill. You could be in a different trade. The industry needs millwrights, electricians, human resource professionals and welders. If you’re saving up for post-secondary education, there are jobs available for you too! My advice to women would be to try any trade.
I was a janitor at Confederation College when I met my soon-to-be welding professor, Jim Dyson. He told me to “give it a try; women make the best welders because they have patience”. So I did, and now I have my 4 position CWB ticket. There are so many different trades in the forest products industry. So GO FOR IT! Try them all until you find something that suits you. I was scared to jump into a man’s world, but there are a lot of supportive people here.
I have no family of my own yet, so work-life balance is easy for me. My boyfriend also works at Atikokan as a sawfiler. We work opposite shifts, which is perfect as someone is always at home with the dogs. It makes the weekend that much more enjoyable when we aren’t working overtime. Being from Atikokan, I enjoy anything outdoors. Fishing is my go-to hobby - I love bass fishing! Hockey is a huge sport for me as well. I love going to the outdoor rink, and Sportsnet is always on our TV. Besides that, I like to weld little projects with my buddy, Lortie, and hang out with my boyfriend and the dogs. I enjoy a simple life.