Pride in the Trades: Chelsea French
Building and fixing has always been a part of Chelsea French’s life. For as long as she can remember, her dad always had projects around the house, which always presented opportunities for her sister and herself to get involved. You could say that this was the beginning of her road to becoming a Commercial Transportation Mechanic.
As a former Maintenance Coordinator at a women’s housing facility in the Downtown Eastside, Chelsea worked with many trades contractors and quickly started accumulating trades knowledge. Soon after, she started her own business for home repairs and renovations…but her career journey didn’t end there. At a Women in Trades event, Chelsea met with some recruiters and learned about being a Commercial Transportation Mechanic. She’d never heard of the trade but strangely, she knew right then and there it was the trade career for her! Now, Chelsea is thriving in her trade. “I love that there is such a variety of things to work on and it pushes you constantly to learn new things as technology evolves,” she enthuses.
Working in a field dominated by men has had its ups and downs for Chelsea, more so as a woman than being LGBTQ+.
“My skill and ability are constantly questioned by customers and peers,” Chelsea says. “Trades workplace culture has a lot of opportunities for improvement and I’m glad to do my part in educating people about it. Thereare so many more allies for the LGBTQ+ community now.”
The Industry Training Authority proudly raises their hand as an ally and supports Chelsea and others to inspire and motivate the LGBTQ+ community to get involved in changing workplace cultures and making skilled trades a welcoming field for all.
Family and friends are pillars in Chelsea’s family of six and Pride is a time of celebration and love for everyone in their lives. It’s been that way for the last 16 years for Chelsea and her partner, Lucy, who are active in the LGBTQ+ community. They have walked in the Pride parade with their four kids and participated in events like Dykes on Bikes and the Dyke March numerous years. This year, COVID-19 has put public events on hold but Chelsea and her family, along with their closest friends are celebrating Pride in a COVID friendly way, with a camping trip in the great outdoors. COVID-19 may have taken away the parade but, as Chelsea and her family have shown, it has nothing on the love that bring people together during Pride.
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!