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‘Build you up’

Memorial tradeswoman featured in video series for International Women's Day

Campus and Community

By Melissa Watton

A Memorial tradeswoman is featured in a new video series profiling women working in the trades.

Danielle Browne monitoring the pressure on the heating system.
Danielle Browne monitoring the pressure on a heating system.
Photo: Kassondra Barry

Each video introduces a woman working in a different trade, including plumbing, welding, electrical, construction and woodworking.

Danielle Browne, a plumber with 12-years’ experience in the Department of Facilities Management, is featured in the plumbing video.

Watch the video below.

The Office to Advance Women Apprentices screened a series of five short videos profiling women working in the trades to recognize International Women’s Day.

Red Seal certified

Ms. Browne began at Memorial as an apprentice and has since received Red Seal certification.

She helps maintain buildings on the St. John’s campus, where she works on a variety of projects from simple fixes to emergency repairs and high pressure hot water heating systems.

Supportive of the trades, Ms. Browne was happy to be included in the video project.

“The Office to Advance Women Apprentices does a phenomenal job supporting apprentices and has built an extensive network of tradeswomen,” she said.

“I was happy to participate in this project and personally think that working in the trades is a great choice that builds character.”

Full circle

During her career at Memorial, Ms. Browne has come full circle from being an apprentice to mentoring them.

“At Memorial there is mentorship and camaraderie,” she said. “Mentors and apprentices bond over the teaching and learning experience. Working with an apprentice is the best thing that I have ever done. Seeing the pride and satisfaction on an apprentice’s face when they get the job done is incredibly rewarding.”

“An apprenticeship is to build you up and teach you who you are.” — Danielle Browne

Ms. Browne also says she feels that apprenticeship is an important experience, particularly for those who lack confidence.

“I say your apprenticeship is not just to learn how to cut pipes, swing a hammer and run wire. An apprenticeship is to build you up and teach you who you are.”

The right person for the job

The Office to Advance Women Apprentices chose women who are passionate about what they do and have made progressive steps for themselves and other women in skilled trades to feature in the video series.

With this in mind, Sheneen Young, Human Resources advisor with Facilities Management, believes Ms. Browne was the “perfect” person for the project.

Danielle Browne braces a circuit setter for repair.
Danielle Browne braces a circuit setter for repair.
Photo: Kassondra Barry

“Danielle shares her ever-growing skillset with colleagues and apprentices,” said Ms. Young. “She voices her opinions on what she believes to be right and fair in the workplace. She is a mentor and a leader here at Memorial.”

Terry Clarke, mechanical systems supervisor at Facilities Management, agrees.

“Danielle is the ideal person to represent the trades. She is always up-to-date on new innovative practices, tools, time-saving techniques and safe working practices. She has extensive knowledge that comes from dedicating herself to learning everything she can about her trade.”

Tradeswomen at Memorial

The university hired its first tradeswoman in 2008.

Today, women are working in almost all trades shops at Memorial, holding positions as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, welders, glassblowers and machinists.

Most start as apprentices and, once certified, many compete and are successful in gaining employment as journeypersons at Memorial.

Nationally, the average proportion of women who work on-the-job as apprentices and journeypersons is 4.5 per cent. Currently, 11.5 per cent of Memorial’s journeypersons and apprentices are women (there are 96 positions, of which 11 are held by women).

Office to Advance Women Apprentices

The Office to Advance Women Apprentices provides ongoing support to tradeswomen seeking work and to those employed in the skilled trades.

This includes providing career services, employment supports and networking opportunities for tradeswomen. Please visit here to access all of the videos.

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