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Vol 40  No 11
March 13, 2008


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Trades apprenticeship program attracts qualified women
by Shannon O'Dea Dawson

For as long as she can remember, Crystal Butler has wanted a practical career. She says she enjoys the challenge of thinking through problems to find solutions and working in a physically active way. Her grandfather was an electrician and she loved watching him work. Her father is also an electrical technologist, so you might say Ms. Butler is hard-wired for a career as an industrial electrician. Her interest led to a nine-month industrial electrician program offered by the College of the North Atlantic’s Seal Cove campus.

She was hired by Memorial in November 2007 as one of two industrial electrician apprentices with Facilities Management. Nancy Gautsche and Ms. Butler don’t believe their careers as electricians are shocking in any way. Currently, they work with many men who, in Ms. Butler’s words, “have been really patient. They are good at explaining things and offer a wide range of experiences and information as the university is so vast and intricate. This is a really good opportunity and I’m thrilled to have this job. Memorial is a great place to learn my trade.”

While it might seem out of the ordinary for women to seek careers in trades, this trend is changing. As market conditions change, demand increases, society’s views evolve and opportunities abound, more women are considering this career path, said Ms. Butler.

“I realize I’ve chosen a different career path, but everyone has to do what interests them,” she said. “A lot of friends I graduated with became nurses, doctors, teachers, technicians … whatever interested them. Choosing the job path that best suits you is the biggest decision to make. I hope everyone is as fortunate as me.”

Once an apprentice completes a training program and about four years of practical experience, they are eligible for their journeyman designation. For Crystal Butler, when her journey to becoming an industrial electrician is complete, she’ll have her journeyperson designation and follow in the footsteps of those she has admired.

Crystal Butler enjoys the challenges of her profession.

(Photo by Chris Hammond)

Senate approves new programs

Professor Don Nichol of Memorial University’s English department is offering a unique Literary London program in the spring semester at Memorial’s Harlow campus. Dr. Nichol will teach two courses – a special topics course on Literary London and English 4041 British Literature 1750-1790. Both courses will incorporate field trips to London landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, Bloomsbury, the British Museum, and Westminster Abbey, making literature come alive for students.

Professor Nichol’s wife, actor and director Mary Walsh, will make her teaching debut with two special topics courses – Introduction to Creative Writing: Satire and British Drama in Performance. In the first course, students will write satirical sketches based on their Harlow experience and engage in collaborative projects. For British Drama in Performance students will attend plays in London and environs, write reviews, participate in seminars and keep a journal of their theatre-going experiences. For more, see today.mun.ca.

The Faculty of Business recently received approval for two new programs at the graduate level.

The EMBA (Petroleum) combines an existing EMBA program with the Master in Oil and Gas Studies. This four semester degree is intended for professionals on a fast-track in the oil and gas sector. It will give students a multi-disciplinary understanding of the oil and gas industry. Demand from professionals in this area is very high, and the Faculty has already received inquiries from potential applicants.

The PhD in Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management is the second specialization in the PhD in Management. The Faculty of Business will admit its first class in September 2009.

The Department of Women’s Studies now offers a minor, major and master’s degree in women’s studies. A proposal for the major, approved by the University Senate on Feb. 12, was largely the result of the collective efforts of the undergraduate studies advisory committee and Women’s Studies Council members in the (still relatively new) Department of Women’s Studies, with support from the Dean’s Office, Faculty of Arts.

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