Jul 6, 2018
By Brenda Klassen
We recently sat down with Dayna Georges to discuss her experience as a client in the Gabriel Dumont Institute Indigenous Apprenticeship program. Dayna has just completed Level 4 Heavy Duty Equipment Technician in Saskatoon and will be writing her Heavy Duty Equipment Technician Red Seal (Interprovincial Exams) in July. She recently became a new mother and is currently on maternity leave. Dayna worked right to the last week before baby arrived.
From a young age, Dayna would ride alongside her Dad as he graded roads. This is when Dayna’s curiosity was peaked as she watched her dad operate and maintain the grader, fire truck and other heavy equipment. Dayna wanted to know how to keep those machines operating and was determined she would learn.
Life doesn’t always go as planned; but Dayna has proven that even when dreams seem impossible, determination, a strong support system, and self-confidence will help pave a road to success. When Dayna was 15, she had a life changing experience when she had her first child. Family and school were there for Dayna and at age 17 she returned to school to finish her studies. Dayna’s parents have been there to provide the home environment Dayna wanted for her son while she continued her education. It’s never been easy to pursue a challenging career, but Dayna wants to pass this knowledge to her son for him to know that anything is possible when you put your mind and heart into it.
When she first came to Gabriel Dumont Institute Training and Employment, Dayna was placed with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure in the Institute’s apprenticeship wage subsidy program.
In 2011, Dayna completed Level 1 Heavy Duty Equipment Technician Apprenticeship in Prince Albert where she worked closely with Tammy Cummins, an Employment Counselor at the Gabriel Dumont Institute Training and Employment Prince Albert. She then returned to Pinehouse and worked for local businesses in the area of motor repair and equipment maintenance. Dayna moved to Meadow Lake in 2013 and continued her apprenticeship training with Saskatchewan Highways and completed her apprenticeship Levels 2 through 4. No matter the location where Dayna was working, Gabriel Dumont Institute Training and Employment staff were available to provide her with support and continuity.
Dayna believes that her crew and her supervisor are an integral part of her mentorship. She said “I’ve found support here from mentors and co-workers who are patient and take the time to explain in detail. The crew is a big family here, everyone tries to help one another out. It’s a team environment.” Dayna also shared what makes her happy at work. “It’s that sense of accomplishment when you see that piece of equipment drive out of the shop and you know that you fixed it or were a part of a team that fixed it. It makes me proud of what I do.”
Dayna has faced adversity from those that doubt a woman’s ability in the shop. She commented “It’s tough to face them. I tell myself, they started at the same place as me, they had to start at the beginning too. I have a right to learn while I work, and doubters aren’t going to sway me.”
Dayna would like to see more women in male-dominated trades. I asked her for advice to other women who may be thinking of a career in the trades. First, she identified common challenges that are unique to women at the work sites. Dayna then stated, “Keep your head up and keep working hard. Put your mind set to never give up and keep going. There will be hard days and you might worry, but don’t give up and don’t let doubters pull you down. There will always be doubters, but this is your chance and you have to take it.”
Dayna also acknowledges GDI Training and Employment and says that the Indigenous Apprenticeship Program is vital. “There’s very little support for apprentices and GDI has provided me with the opportunity to apprentice where I wanted to be. Without GDI this may not have been possible. I really like where I am with Saskatchewan Highways and I want to make this my lifelong career.”
Dayna will be writing her Heavy Duty Equipment Technician Red Seal (Interprovincial Exams) in July. She recently became a new mother and is currently on maternity leave. Dayna worked right to the last week before baby arrived.
The Gabriel Dumont Institute Indigenous Apprenticeship program 2017-2021 is recruiting for Indigenous participants who are interested in skilled trades. The participants are placed with employers across the province where they learn under mentorship of a journeyperson certified supervisor while earning a paycheque. For more information, please contact Sara Belair at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll free: 1-877-488-6888.