After working in the field of Corrosion Engineering with PCL Constructors in Bull Arm, I have just been hired by Crosbie Salamis Ltd, a company servicing the offshore operations, to be in charge of the maintenance inspections of the FPSO as well as the Hibernia rig. Corrosion engineering isn't a well-known field and is very male dominated, and it took a while to get here.
Growing up, my family owned an Automotive Body & Mechanical Repair Shop. I started work in that business when I was 10 years old and I learned to do both sides of the business. In my family, it made no difference if you were male or female - everyone pitched in to help with the work.
I eventually ended up in Ontario with my husband for 10 years where we started our family (we have a son and a daughter). I did a lot of inside maintenance work there - painting, repairs, etc. This was great for the kids but made it hard on us as a couple. We got through it though.
When we moved back to Newfoundland, it coincided with the building of the Hibernia platform where I got a job as an industrial painter. I had that job for four years. I had to take a six week refresher course for that.
While I was working at Hibernia, I learned there were no people in Newfoundland and Labrador who could do the management and supervision work in industrial protection and applying fireproof coatings. I saw this as an opportunity and inquired from my supervisor (who was brought in from England) where did one get the training?
I now have my Level III from the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) in Houston Texas. The courses are short, but very intensive, and you need background in the industrial painting area to get in. I plan to be fully certified within 10 years.
You need to have a good supportive family and supportive spouse to succeed in this. My husband has supported me through it all. It helps that he is an iron-worker and understands industrial work sites. He s a person I really look to for advice. Whenever I have a problem, I always ask what he would do.
Sometimes you don t really know how to handle yourself around a group of men in an industrial setting. To me, you should be able to solve many of the things that arise, just by taking the man aside and talking one on one. You need to be one of the team, play like a team member and treat them like a brother, more than anything else.
The biggest rewards are the tremendous salary increase from your ordinary jobs in construction; that trades people get equal wages on union contracts - regardless if you are male or female; and it makes you feel good. I am contributing as much to our family income as is my husband, so we are on an even keel.
Not everyone goes to University - you need to lots of tradespeople, technologists, technicians, etc. as well. Hard work is the biggest quality you need.
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