Q&A with Nevada Gillis: Electrical Journeyperson
How did you first hear about the skilled trades and what inspired you to pursue it as a career?
I grew up in a family that had tradeswork at its core. My stepdad is a general contractor/carpenter and my older brother a Red Seal Carpenter as well. Literally the only reason I'm in this trade today is because of my mom. In a conversation when I was 20 or so, she suggested I should try electrical out. I went with it and it's turned into a 15 year career.
What you love most about the skilled trades?
I love how I'm not stuck in the same room in the same building at the same desk for 30 years. I lose interest very easily and the trades keep me guessing. New companies, new sites, new provinces, and new people spice things up a little bit. The physical aspect is great as well.
What does Pride month or celebrating the 2SLGBTQ+ community mean to you?
I'm not a big activist by any means, but for me it means supporting the people that are out there representing our community in a positive manner and making progress for us. The community offers a sense of safety for me. I know I am not alone and have tons of support to utilize.
Has the trades community become more open to 2SLGBTQ+ members since you've joined the trade? What progress, if any, has been made?
In my experience, I have noticed a slight change, nothing drastic or highly progressive though. I have also evolved a lot in 15 years, so seeing through my lens as a 20-year-old female first year electrician and my experiences then, is a lot different than my experiences as a 35-year-old trans electrical journeyperson.
Essentially if I walked on site 15 years ago as I am today, I feel as though there would be a lot more resistance back then as there would be today.
What advice would you give to people who are considering joining the skilled trades?
Listen to your gut—at anytime, during any task, no matter who the direction comes from. If it doesn't feel right or safe, stop because it probably isn't.
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!