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Anna Strachan

Coordinator of Precision Manufacturing Programs – School of Skilled Trades and Apprenticeships, Sheridan College

A career in the trades used to be a “guy thing”, but more women are discovering rewarding careers in the trades. Just ask Anna Strachan, who became hooked on the industry after taking a drafting class in Grade 10. With no shop at her high school, she took a course at Sheridan College on precision machining. “I knew then that the trades were something I wanted to pursue,” she says. “My parents, a dentist and lawyer, supported my decision to go to trades school instead of university.”

Opening doors to opportunity

Strachan took her passion for creating things and completed a four-year mould-making apprenticeship, attending school and working at the same time. “The most satisfying thing about a career in the trades is knowing that I have a skill that is transferable to a spectrum of jobs,” she says. “My experience working with plastic and metal parts manufacturing has carried me through the automotive, medical, research and now academic sectors. There are a variety of different career options needing a skilled trades background.”

From that very first course, Strachan has had an affinity for Sheridan’s School of Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship. Today, she’s balancing her Master of Engineering Studies with working at the school as the Coordinator for the Precision Manufacturing Programs.

“Sheridan has a variety of programs and delivery modes at both the post-secondary and apprenticeship levels,” says Strachan. “Anyone who is interested in the trades can find a program that suits them. And our industry partners help us ensure that we are delivering the kind of programming needed today.”

Value adds

In 2017, Sheridan opened its state-of-the-art Skilled Trades Centre at its Brampton campus — the college’s largest with 12,000 students. Skilled trades are at the heart of the school’s focus, and unlike at other institutions, trade students at Sheridan have the opportunity to mingle and socialize with the broader student population. 

The opportunity to learn in small class sizes and within workshops stocked with the latest equipment and tools is also a plus for the students. This kind of integrated, laser-focused education combined with the college’s rich social, athletic, arts, and cultural activities means female students develop into well-rounded and progressive tradeswomen who can help curb the country’s labour shortage.

“Working in the trades allows young women to not only learn a skill that can turn into a rewarding career, but they can also bring a unique perspective to the job,” says Strachan.

Sheridan is committed to shrinking the skilled trade shortage by providing opportunities for anyone considering this type of career. It’s just one route to making an impact on the world, the way Strachan has.

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