Q&A with Industrial Mechanic Nicole Wiet
Nicole Wiet is from Nanaimo, B.C. She takes after both her father and grandfather as a third-generation Industrial Mechanic. But she’s making her own mark on the industry as a leader of change and an advocate for women in trades. While she doesn’t get to see her family as often as she used to, when they do get together, the conversation involves lots of elevator talk – perhaps to the dismay of the rest of her family!
Q: Where are you from?
I grew up in Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island with my family. I graduated from Ballenas Secondary School in 2000 with honours and attended Vancouver Island University, where I studied Criminology and English. I moved to Metro Vancouver from Nanaimo in 2012 for more career opportunities that were available in a market that was much different from Vancouver Island.
Q: Describe what you enjoy the most about the trades?
I love a variety of things about my job in the trades but if I had to choose, the top two would most likely be the opportunity to use my knowledge and physical strength to build elevators, and sharing what I know with my peers and apprentices—I really love that teaching aspect.
Q: Do you have any family members in trades? How did they inspire your decision to pursue a career in trades?
Both my father and grandfather were also elevator mechanics in Local 82 of the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC). When I expressed interest in pursuing a career in trades my father was very supportive and helped me accomplish the first step of applying to the IUEC. I soon after got the call and started my new career as an apprentice.
My father and grandfather have passed down tools, books, advice, and information. I chose a career in trades because it is something that my father and grandfather always seemed to love going to work to do, and I wanted a career that I would also love.
Q: Do you ever have the opportunity to work on projects with your family members? Please describe what this experience is like.
My sister and I spent a lot of time with my father and his co-workers after school and on the weekend listening to them discuss work and watching them build and fix a variety of items and machinery in the shop. As I got older during the holidays, I was fortunate enough to occasionally shadow my father at work as he maintained elevators. These days that included father and daughter lunches are some of my most treasured.
Once I started my apprenticeship, I had a chance to work with my father for a day. He seemed to enjoy teaching me as much as I enjoyed the opportunity to learn from him. My father and my grandfather are both such great teachers with their calm and nurturing ways of educating.
Q: What do you love doing in your spare time?
I do a lot of volunteer work in my spare time and I hold a lot of positions. I am on the executive board of my union, shop steward, secretary and founding member of the BC Tradeswomen Society, and a governance committee member of the BC Centre for Women in the Trades.
I love volunteer work because I like to be a part of social change I also travel as often as I can afford, enjoy the beautiful B.C. outdoors, support the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and spend time with my friends.
Q: What do you feel the proudest of?
I am very proud of all that I have accomplished in the little over 10 years that I have been involved with my union and my trade. I worked hard to become a strong and educated Mechanic and I am valued by my union family as well as the company I am employed by.
I take as many additional courses as I can to further my career in my trade, as well as to further advance tradeswomen issues. I just finished attending the Canadian Labour Congress Pacific Region Winter School and completed the course, Women in Leadership – of which I won a scholarship to attend.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
In 10 years, I hope to have continued with and grown my involvement in my union, tradeswomen issues, and local labour positive politics. I think it is so important to be a part of the change..
Do you know an apprentice or employer champion?
The Champions of Apprenticeship are recognized for their outstanding achievements in BC apprenticeship system. These Champions are celebrated for their hard work in creating certified tradesworkers, supporting their industry and promoting apprenticeship. Do you know an outstanding employer sponsor or apprentice? Send us an email and nominate them to become a Champion of Apprenticeship!