Ellen P. is one of Musket’s most experienced and highly trained mechanics. She completed her federal exam to become a Red Seal Mechanic in 2008, at the age of 48. In the past, she has been a Canadian National bodybuilding champion. As someone who joined this industry at a relatively later age, Ellen has a positive perspective. She says “You can always go back to work [or training]. You’re not stuck in any career path. I always tell my kids that it’s never too late to start again, as long as you’re physically fit [and healthy] you can do anything.”
As our first female mechanic, we wanted to share her experiences and advice with others, especially women, looking to become heavy equipment technicians and mechanics.
Ellen started her career as a heavy equipment technician in June of 2005. Before then she had been exposed to the industry since an early age, through her friend’s father who was an owner operator. Watching him at work piqued her interest. She always liked taking things apart and being around trucks and heavy equipment.
As a woman and as someone having no prior mechanical background, Ellen had to overcome some unique challenges in her career. “It was apparent from the first day of my apprenticeship that I had to work twice as hard and be twice as good” says Ellen.
She advises those looking to get into this line of work, “Be honest with yourself about your physical capabilities.” She says due to the physically demanding nature of her work, if you’re not as physically strong but still interested in becoming a mechanic then you have to look into auto repairs since the equipment weighs dramatically less compared to trucks.
Another piece of advice Ellen shares especially for women, “Be prepared to take a lot of abuse, a lot of assumptions that you’re not qualified. That you’re there to push a broom.”
With regards to working at Musket, Ellen had this to say, “Musket has a great atmosphere, a very comfortable environment.” Ken Biggs, Lead Mechanic and Ellen’s supervisor at Royal Windsor had this to say about Ellen`s performance at Musket, “Ellen at 57 years, is stronger than my younger male mechanics. She is our most experienced mechanic and we’re happy to have her onboard.”
For Ellen, a career as a mechanic has been ultimately gratifying. “I like that the work is finite, there is a beginning, middle and end. I love the challenges and that the results are tangible.”
At Musket and our in-house driver training academy, CHET, we love to encourage men and women to explore careers in heavy equipment driving and maintenance, as the experience can be truly rewarding both financially and emotionally.
If like Ellen, you are interested in a career in transportation click here.
If you’d like to more about working at CHET click here.
At CHET, we actively support females joining trades and more specifically entering the transportation industry. We have had female students and Musket employs women across all 5 divisions. We look forward to sending our PR, Product and Project Manager to Trucking HR Canada’s 3rd Annual Women With Drive Leadership Summit March 2, 2017. Check out our other blog articles discussing women in transportation: