Tradeswoman profile: Chelsea French

Name: Chelsea French
Trade: Commercial Transportation Mechanic
Union: IUOE Local 115
Main reason I selected my trade: I have always loved working with my hands and this industry found me and informed me of the opportunity to better support my family. A stable career in a set location, with set hours, and financial stability while doing something I really enjoy.
Number of women in your first trades class: 0
Favourite tool of your trade: I love all the tools ... the more the better! If I had to only pick one though it would likely be an air hammer.

Favourite tool of your trade: I love all the tools ... the more the better! If I had to only pick one though it would likely be an air hammer. 
Your Norma Rae moment:
When I first started working in trades, I was maintenance coordination and onsite handy person on the Downtown Eastside. I was in charge of taking care of two buildings that were homes to women and children. Working with some of the strongest yet most vulnerable people I have ever met changed my perspective on a lot of things. When I began my career as a commercial transport mechanic, my views again had been changed by having children of my own. Now more than ever I valued a safe and supportive working environment that would make sure I made it home to them at the end of the day. It also made me see that there were changes that needed to be made to create a better environment for all workers but more so for the women in the trade. The lack for personal protective equipment, bathrooms, and support or a plan for maternity leave are just a few things that still shock me. This makes me want to push harder to support our trade sisters and the changes needed - in hopes that one day when my little girls are old enough to enter a career in trades (should they want to) that none of this will be an issue anymore.
Biggest influence on your career: The biggest influence on my career has been my family. The love and support that they have given has made the hardest days just a little better. I work hard to provide the best life possible for them. To have the financial freedom to be able to do the things we want on my time off. I love how proud my little girls are of me and how excited they are to learn what I do at work. 

THE FUN STUFF
Currently reading:
Women of Invention, Life Changing ideas by Remarkable Women, Charlotte Montague
Currently listening to:  Donna Missal, Bishop Briggs, and The Weekend.
Best bingeworthy show on Netflix: Sons of Anarchy
What you do when you aren’t building B.C.: Family time, camping, playing spots/gym or riding my motorcycle.
The thing that people are most surprised to learn about you: That I have been a foster parent for 11 years and taken care of over 50 kids. Or that I use to have really long hair and wore skirts/dresses.

If you or someone you work with should be featured in our Build TogetHER newsletter, send an email to corry@bcbuildingtrades.org! We would love to share their stories!

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