“I started with the EJTC four months after I graduated high school.”
Rachel Cloutier is a bright, spunky, and athletic woman. From working in rec centers to performing gymnastics, being active has been a large part of Rachel’s life. “I worked at a recreation center managing rec programs, supervising open gyms, and running birthday parties. I had been doing gymnastics for ten to twelve years, so I was coaching gymnastics too.” In support of her brother, Rachel attended the trades expo at the Sungod Recreational Center in North Delta. “Originally, my dad took my brother there to get him excited for school because he was not into it, so I went and brought my friend too.” A teacher approached her from the Electrical Joint Training Committee (EJTC). The teacher asked Rachel if she had ever considered becoming an electrician. “She told me about the program, and my dad was really into it too! She mentioned there was a women’s open house, and I ended up going to that. I met some other women who were electricians, some apprentices, and some journeymen. I was in the eleventh grade at the time, so my dad told me to think about it next year and then go for it”. And so, Rachel did.
“I mainly focused on coaching gymnastics; that’s what took up most of my time. So, it was quite a change going into the trades. I was used to being elegant, and the next thing I knew, I was bending pipe!”
Rachel has recently completed the second year of her apprenticeship. She went from gymnastic leotards and tightly kept hair to work pants and a hard hat, and she loves it. “I’m working in the Coast Capitol building next to King George in the downtown of Surrey. We’re doing rough-ins for the offices, overhead piping, and bringing power to all the plugs, switches, and lights. It’s a lot of pipe bending, wire pulling, splicing, and I think there are a few transformers that we’ll have to switch out, that will be exciting to see!” Rachel welcomes new challenges and is constantly pushing herself to improve each day; “I look forward to trying to accomplish more than I did the day before. If I’m going somewhere new, I look forward to learning about it, learning new tricks, and honestly just doing the same thing and getting better at that. I also look forward to working with a good crew”.
“I want women to know they can do this too!”
Rachel Cloutier is now thriving in the electrical trade. She enjoys staying active and is very thankful for the strong, powerful women who have mentored her into the brilliant apprentice she is today. Once performing stunts and flips as a gymnast, she is now opening new doors to opportunities she had never imagined for herself before. “There are so many avenues with electrical. It’s the future! I could become a journeyman; I could do solar; I could even work with electric cars. Every day there is something new, and I think that’s pretty cool”.