Elizabeth’s Career Journey:
Elizabeth Moses discovered her passion for trades in high school when she was accidentally placed into a woodworking class. Her woodworking teacher saw potential in her skills and invited her to join the FIRST Robotics Team. Moses learned to build robots and for three years competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition. In 2016, Elizabeth graduated high school and pursued the Precision Metal Cutting Pre-apprenticeship program at St. Clair College.
In 2017, Elizabeth began her apprenticeship journey working in the Tool and Mold industry. In 2019, she completed her apprenticeship and graduated from the General Machinist program. Currently, Elizabeth is working in automation at Harbour Technologies. Her dream is to obtain her Red Seal and become a Journeyperson. In the future, Moses hopes to see more students pursuing the skilled trades and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Who would you consider your influencers and mentors?
My biggest mentor was my high school teacher. He was the woodworking and robotics teacher. He taught me about robots, operating machines and assembly. He was my biggest supporter when I started my career. He is someone I still look up to this day. He is one of the greatest tradesmen I know and I am grateful he dedicated time into teaching me as a student.
In the beginning, I struggled as an apprentice and I needed support to navigate the trades as a woman. I am grateful to my electrician friend Terry Weymouth who inspired me to continue and made a difference in my experience. She taught me to believe in myself and advocate for my future. She encouraged me to continue the journey on days I wanted to quit. I tried to be like Terry when I met women on my journey.
Can you tell us about your work as an advocate for workforce diversity and women In the trades?
I had the opportunity to work with WEST of Windsor, encouraging and promoting careers to women in Windsor-Essex. WEST provides the CNC/Industrial Mechanical Millwright program, in partnership with St. Clair College to minority, unemployed and low income women. Women who participate in this program find themselves in a better financial position and are able to provide for themselves and their families. The trades open doors for women and create rewarding careers.
One of the few reasons I pursued the trades was because I couldn’t afford a post-secondary education. As a child of immigrants, I grew up in social/community housing. Pursuing an opportunity in the trades provided me financial relief and freedom. After three years of working in my field, I ended up completing my career and my education was sponsored.
As the Alumni of Distinction Award Recipient and Board Director of the St. Clair Alumni Association, I was thrilled to represent the women in trades in my community and receive an award for my leadership. Today I work with schools and organizations to promote trades to high school and post-secondary students.
What’s your advice for young people choosing their career path?
- If you are uncertain of your future, look at all the free options first including pre-apprenticeships, pre-employment, and second careers. Don’t spend a fortune for a future you are uncertain of.
- Make sure you apply for grants, some are $1000-$3000 for trade students yearly. It will help offset the cost of tools and schooling.
- Don’t choose your career because of your friends and family. Their path for you may not truly be for you. Your education is your own, make sure you choose something that suits you and something of your interest. Don’t fear venturing out into different fields.
- Resource the job market. Look at entry level positions, job growth and pay. Some industries are difficult to get into and are extremely competitive. Be ready to move if jobs are not available in your city.
- The cost of living is rising, make sure you invest your time into a career that pays for your necessities.
What about advice to women pursuing a career in trades?
- Don’t be scared to ask questions. It’s better to find a solution than to struggle alone.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. You have to learn from your mistakes and grow as a person.
- Remember your journey when you don’t feel confident or strong. Hardships are not meant to last forever. Things can always change.
- Be yourself. It’s easy to blend into the crowd or feel you must. Being true helps you find your support group.