Three dynamic women who have staked out successful careers in utilities will inspire your female students to explore new career pathways.
Female role models help get this career on the radar of women and girls because they’re able to see someone who looks like them on the job. The video reveals the personal experiences and insights of successful women working in this field.
Utilities and related industries employ millions of people. Increasing numbers of women are establishing rewarding careers in the traditionally male-dominated utilities field.
Career Options for Women -- Utilities:
This 24-minute video features profiles of three women with successful careers in utilities:
- Melanie Young, a network operations technician in the telecommunications field
- Laura Warkentin, a natural gas systems planner who coordinates the installation of gas main services
- Nicole Brochu, a linesperson accustomed to working at extreme heights
Additional information from co-workers and supervisors supplements each job profile.
Meet the role models featured in the Utilities video:
Melanie: Network Operations Technician
Melanie Young is a network operations field technician for Microcell Connexions. She maintains cellular equipment, doing installations and repairs when necessary. She also coordinates with several contractors and the Microcell implementation team on a daily basis to bring cell sites on-line. She helps make sure that everything is up to specifications.
Melanie joined the Communication Reserves of the military after high school. She trained as a Radio/ Teletype Operator, but was more interested in the technical aspect. While in the military, she took a two-day course in Telecommunication Engineering Technology. She joined the program and graduated with a diploma with honors in Telecommunication Engineering Technology. She even received two scholarships.
“From a working perspective, my technical abilities are growing every day in this field. As new developments are made, my knowledge increases just that much more.”
Melanie believes her skills will easily translate into any other future job. Along with her technical skills, her personal skills are valuable in maintaining good working relationships with co-workers, contractors, and the general public.
In the future, she would eventually like to design or invent new products and services for the telecommunication industry.
Laura: Natural Gas Systems Planner
Laura Warkentin works for British Columbia (BC) Gas. Her job title is Technologist 2 - Utility Planning. She designs and coordinates the installation of gas main services for BC Gas' customers. This involves a lot of planning and preparation of cost estimates. She draws up the plan, gets all necessary approvals, arranges for the crews and ensures the project is completed well and in a timely fashion.
When asked what she enjoys about her job, Laura says, “It is great working on computers that are the latest technology. And I like working on projects where you start at the very beginning and you get to see the finished project. Also, I really like the customer service aspect of the job.”
Before Laura graduated from her technical college, she was already working part-time with BC Gas on weekends. She started full-time as a System Planner on international projects then became a plant designer.
The major reason why she would encourage other women to enter this field is because of the wide spectrum of opportunity. You can work on the oilrigs, work off shore, and work in the utility distribution side of things.
Laura now plans to go back to school to take a one-year GIS course in order to improve her employability in the future. GIS stands for Geographical Information Systems, a technology that almost all utility distribution industries are using now.
Nicole Brochu is a linesperson for Hydro Quebec. She started working for Hydro as a temp, designing plans for lines people. When Hydro decided to integrate 12 women in a non-traditional area, Nicole did a nine-month training program in electricity and other skills.
Her work involves construction, maintenance, client requests, and dealing with emergencies. She rotates climbing with her partner - one climbs while the other helps on the bottom. Many times they use a lift truck. Heights don't bother Nicole and she likes working outdoors.
Nicole admits that the work is physically demanding, although they have tools and machinery to help. Danger is always present due to the heights at which they work and the presence of high voltage electricity.
Despite the numerous difficulties associated with her job, Nicole finds much reward in her work. She advises other women that this would be a great career for those who enjoy teamwork, manual labor, and working in all types of climates.
Run time: 24 minutes total, including three segments of approximately 8 minutes each.
Format: DVD. Closed-captioned.
Note: Videos are interspersed with Canadian salary and labor statistics, which are similar to the numbers in the United States.
Policies: There is a no-return policy on these videos.
Grade level: Middle School, High School, Two-Year College, Four-Year University