“I was really thrilled to move into this position and work for an organization that really means something.”

Karen Dearlove is a bright, talented, and passionate woman whose strong belief in helping others is evident in her role as a leader in the skilled trades. Karen is the Executive director of the BC Center for Women in the Trades Training (BCWITT). BCCWITT is a non-profit organization funded by the BC provincial government. They provide a range of services, support, mentorship, and training for women, indigenous people, and other under-represented groups interested in making a career in the skilled trades. “When the executive director position of BCWITT came up, it seemed to bring together lots of different things that I had already done before, along with experiences and knowledge that I already had. In an amazing way, it was one of those jobs that felt like it was almost made for me. I was thrilled to move into this position and work for an organization that really means something and is really dedicated to doing good work and helping people while making a change.”

“It’s interesting how I ended up in this position.”

Karen’s journey into her role as the executive director had many different and unique twists and turns. “It’s interesting how I ended up in this position. I completed my Ph.D. in history in Ontario back where I grew up. While I was pursuing my academic studies, I had many non-traditional jobs. I worked in landscaping, road surveying, a carpenters assistant, and I worked in a small manufacturing facility for concrete gardening products.” While she was completing her undergrad, she was working at a wood door factory and really got to understand what it’s like to work in a male dominate industry. “While I was in graduate school, I worked for a factory that manufactured wood doors, and when I started in that position, I was the only woman on the entire manufacturing factory floor of about 55 employees. It was a bit of an eye-opening experience. Regardless, I was able to advance casinos with payid in that role. It was a great and interesting experience that taught me more about what it was like to work in both non-traditional jobs for a woman, as well an industry that is traditionally highly represented by males.”

“I think it’s essential to build strong connections, networks, and to be able to collaborate.”

Karen has been in the executing director position for the past eight months and is making a significant impact. “I think of our organization as a hub. I want us to be a place to go for people who are interested in coming into the skilled trades, to find out what resources there are, and to help make those connections and networks.” BCWITT runs careers programs to help women interested in the skilled trades by providing financial support, mentoring, job placement, and more. Karen has also built a strong relationship with the EJTC (Electrical Joint Training Committee). “When the EJTC has women who are interested in starting their electrical apprenticeship program, the EJTC will point to us as a steppingstone for preparation and guidance before entering their electrical training program.” 

Karen continues her work with passion, drive, and a solid dedication to making a difference in the skilled trades industry.

The EJTC and BCWITT would like to encourage more women and under-represented groups to join and make their mark in the skilled trades. They need you more than ever.

For more information on BCWITT: https://bccwitt.ca/

For more information on the EJTC: https://ejtc.org/

Written by: Savannah Davis, ClearWater Communications Co.