Sparking her interest

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Growing up, Jenny Bateman was interested in a career in the skilled trades but felt there were barriers preventing it from becoming a reality. She felt pressure to pursue academics, struggled with math, and wasn’t even sure which trade would best suit her.

Almost 27 years after graduating from high school, Jenny learned of the College’s Women in Trades Sampler program, an opportunity to try out six different trades over 12 weeks.

“I hadn’t actually considered going back to school, but I love to get my hands dirty and to learn new skills,” she said. “I found it a bit daunting to go for it since trades ‘seemed’ to be male dominated and math skills were essential but the thought of being surrounded by other women seemed like a less intimidating way to learn.”

Jenny and her classmates spent two weeks each in the Automotive, Carpenter, Electrician, Industrial Mechanic (Millwright), Plumber, and Welder trades while also earning valuable workforce certifications.

“Our first two weeks were spent with Dave Murdoch, one of the Electrician instructors. I was concerned because of the math involved but the way Dave explained it meant I not only grasped what he was teaching but thoroughly enjoyed it! That experience helped my confidence moving forward through the program.”

At the end of the 12-weeks, Jenny had found the right trade for her.  She applied for and was accepted into the foundation-level Electrician program. She began the program in February 2022.

“Electricity is something we use/rely on for our everyday which helps to keep my focus on learning,” she said. “I started with Kevin Szol as my first instructor, and I think he’s going to be in the running for awesome teachers too.”

It was a lesson she learned in the first two weeks of the Women in Trades Sampler that continues to resonate for Jenny, though.

“Dave was right. Put in the time studying and you’ll see what you can become,” she said. “There are so many people at the College to be your advocate. All you have to do is show up and try. Times have changed and the opportunities are endless, seeing women in trades is not unusual anymore.”

Learn more about trades training at College of the Rockies.