Sarah Morden is early in her journey in the trade as a 310S Level One apprentice in Ontario.
Her journey so far
I’m only 21, but it feels like it’s been quite a long journey to get to where I am today. When I was in high school, I took automotive through all of high school. I was the only girl in the class, but I loved it! It was a great class. It gave me time to get off of my chair and get moving and do something at school. And my teacher was super supportive of me. He was really awesome. So I loved that class. I took it because my dad is a mechanic, and I kind of grew up in the trades.
I ended up getting in with my dad at his shop. And so we worked together for about six months. And I really loved it. I felt like I fit in – and not only because I was working with my dad, but I found that I was able to get along with all of my coworkers, and I just really enjoyed the job.
I’ll never forget my first week at the shop. I was so tired. I went to my dad and I said, “Dad, how can you do this?” But I kept with it. And a couple months later I got used to it.
On being a woman in the trade
As a woman in the trades, you face a lot of different things. But there are a lot of people out there who have been extremely supportive of me. And I definitely would say I get more pats on the back than most of the guys that I work with.
You have to really dig in and ask those silly questions that you think people might laugh at, but you need to ask them in order to advance yourself. So I think it’s really important to be able to feel comfortable with your coworkers. And if you don’t, you need to be able to say something. That is a really big thing, especially as a woman. You cannot be afraid if you feel as though you’re not being treated properly. You need to speak up and you need to say something, or else nobody will respect you. That’s kind of how it works in the trades. You gotta show that you mean business and you’re here to work. And that you deserve the same amount of respect as everybody else.
It’s a little scary to me, because I’m more of a classic car enthusiast. I’m a fan of carbureted motors, so EVs are not my style. It’s very different and it really keeps us on our toes. Our knowledge is always building and changing, and we have to change with that.
A special shout-out to Support Ontario Youth, www.supportontarioyouth.ca, which connected us with Sarah. The program offers extensive support services to employers and apprentices. Reach them at email email@example.com or call 647-693-8939.
Listen to the full conversation at The Great Canadian Aftermarket Podcast.