“All my relatives are trades workers.”
Rosa Riordan is no stranger to working with her hands and getting crafty with a tool. She comes from a family who immigrated to Canada and immersed themselves in the trades. Her father, a cement mason, was the person to ask for help with any trades-related needs. Although Rosa had never pursued a career in the trades, she, like her father, is the handy person of her household.
“I have always been in an administrative role, but being my dad’s daughter, I do love tools.”
Instead of working hands-on, Rosa chose to pursue an administrative role within the trades, which led her to a career at the Electrical Joint Training Committee. She has now been with the EJTC for over 20 years and is unquestionably passionate about the work she does. “I’ve always been a trades supporter. If you’re interested in the trades, you can do it whether you are a woman, man, tall or short. I’ve seen tiny little women join, as well as people who are 40-50+ years old. I sit there, look at them and think, wow… you’re amazing!
“I get to be involved in a course that everybody values!”
Along with her numerous talents, Rosa wears many hats at the EJTC. “I am the office supervisor; I make sure that we are compliant with all of the government agencies that are involved in our programs; I work with the EJTC and E2 Inc Board of Directors and most recently, am also co-Leading the start-up of the EJTC Foundation, which we hope will bring a variety of funding options to our apprentices and students.” Rosa is also a proud program coordinator of the ELTT – pre-apprenticeship program, having been instrumental in getting this course designated with various government agencies. “The course combines fifteen weeks of schooling and shop work, and then students are sent off to do ten weeks of work. If the contractor gives good feedback and wants them back, they will get hired as apprentices in the EJTC apprenticeship program. This course is a safe place, especially for women, to get over the insecurity of “what if I do it wrong”. We have the most amazing female and male instructors. I’ve never met such positive and inclusive instructors.”
“There’s a lot to know in the trades. We must get past the negative thinking/stigma. The trades are not secondary.”
Rosa is a huge advocate for the trades, and her passion is plain to see. “Having your Red Seal ticket opens your world to all of these other facets of the trade like fiber optics, programming, solar, EV, or advanced lighting… all of these cool things! It’s not just about working with wires and plugs. Yes, first you need to learn and get your ticket; then, you are free to dive into whatever it is YOU are passionate about.”