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Women Unlimited: It's time to go for it!

From left to right, photo of Drew Hood and Cassie MacDonald
From left to right, Drew Hood, Industrial Instrumentation Diploma, Marconi Campus, Class of 2024 and Cassie MacDonald, Power Engineering Diploma, Marconi Campus, Class of 2023

Meet Drew and Cassie

Although both of their post-secondary education journeys started with pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree, Cassie MacDonald and Drew Hood credit Women Unlimited for helping them navigate the path to their dream careers in the trades.

Women Unlimited is a 14-week program which introduces women to the trades and technology sectors. Hands-on experience, connections to industry professionals and mentorship throughout every step allows participants to test the waters before committing to a discipline.

Although the formal programming ends after 14 weeks, both Drew and Cassie share that the instructors remain in-touch, offering pro-active support well beyond the program completion.

Drew’s Story:

Growing up on a fifth-generation, family-run farm, Drew Hood knew she wanted a “hands-on” career. With a penchant for math and sciences, NSCC’s Industrial Instrumentation Diploma was a serendipitous fit.

“My grandmother saw an ad on Facebook for the Women Unlimited Program, so I took her advice and enrolled,” Drew shares with a chuckle. “Through Women Unlimited, I experienced several trades but, more than that, the instructors took note of my interests and matched me with programs to fit. They focus on setting you up for success and take in consideration every woman’s unique needs and circumstances.”

Drew is a Michelin Tech Scholar and is spending the summer working with the Nova Scotia-based company. She is also already inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, with her younger brother planning to study instrumentation after high school.

“I’m really excited about the opportunities in instrumentation – it’s such a broad field! Right now, my passion is for electrical motors, but I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds and feel confident knowing the support I have behind me at NSCC and Women Unlimited,” says Drew.

Her advice to other women thinking about a career in trades: “There is a community around you, rooting for your success. Go for it! It’s all waiting for you!”

Cassie’s Story:

Technology and science were always interests of Cassie MacDonald, but she wanted to be certain about her career path before enrolling in additional post-secondary education. Through Women Unlimited, Cassie was able to get a feel for several industries, which lead her to NSCC’s Power Engineering Diploma.

“I’m really enjoying my time at NSCC. My instructors always relate our class-work to the field and bring impressive professional experience to the program, plus our two labs offer in-depth access to testing and new technologies. Through my work-term with Nova Scotia Power my education clicked together and solidified my confidence in my skills and training.”

Although representation is slowly improving, women are still largely outnumbered by men in trades and technology sectors. Cassie shares that this is more reason for women to consider trades:

“The more women in trades, the easier it is for women to follow behind you. My three younger sisters are proud to see me pursuing this passion and I’m proud to show them what opportunities are available for women. As women, we bring new perspectives to jobs and have different approaches to leadership, communication, problem-solving and teamwork. This diversity creates a balance that is so important to job sites.”

As for the future, Cassie is excited to pursue a full-time career at home in Cape Breton-Unama’ki when she graduates in 2023.

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