VICTORIA HENNEBERRY - Alumna Spotlight
Pipefitter – Level 2 Apprentice
SHELBURNE SHIP REPAIR, IRVING SHIPBUILDING
Q: When did you realize you had a talent for pipefitting?
My dad teaches skilled trades at the high school level so I was in his class and we were working on bathroom remodels and such and I liked the pipe work stuff, but didn’t really see myself as a plumber, so my dad suggested I try pipefitting as it is more industrial.
Q: As a kid, were there any formative experiences that helped to shape your path?
Absolutely! In my family there are many people in the trades — my Grampy was a carpenter and so were a few of my uncles. I was often out in the garage with my father, so I knew early on I wanted to be in a trade, I just didn’t know which one.
Q: At what point did you realize your chosen career path was for you?
When I did a test drive of the course at NSCC. It was offered at the campus in Shelburne, so I followed a student around for the day and saw what it was all about. I really found out it was for me when I did my work-term at the end of college at Shelburne Ship Repair — every day was different and I loved it.
Q: Was your experience at Techsploration what you expected it to be? How did it impact your career choice or chosen career path?
Techsploration had a huge impact on my career, because it made me aware of what was out there. What I might possibly be interested in and it helped me eliminate what wasn’t for me. It boosted my self-esteem and helped me learn how to do public speaking! If I had not joined Techsploration I wouldn’t have all the amazing females routing for me and supporting me along the way!
Q: Do you have any role models within your career field?
Yes! And luckily she works with me! She’s a Red Seal –it’s awesome to have someone who will support you in times when you just need a female who understands the struggles. I put a smile on my face most days and yes a lot of days it’s great. On the very few that it’s not going so well, it’s nice to go up to her and she totally understands where I’m coming from. It’s great too that we are in the same trade, so we can connect on that level too!
Q: What would you say to people – especially women – who might be considering a career in your field?
I would say DO it! It’s going to be a great adventure. Don’t give up. Please, please don’t give up! My favourite part of my job is knowing how hard I had to work to get there. Every day I walk In proud to be there. Have a good support system. I know it may be intimidating, but you CAN do it! Seriously, don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do with your life. It’s your happiness that matters!
Q: What is the best/most interesting part about your job?
No day is the same. Even hour to hour it changes. I think the most interesting part of my job is how I get to crawl into all the small spots where the guys can’t fit to get at a valve or a pipe down on the ships. They are so surprised when they see what I can do. I love using the big gear where I’m such a small female.
Q: What’s one fun fact about you (i.e. your favourite hobby, a significant achievement, etc.)?
A rather exciting achievement for me is recently I got my second block for my apprenticeship. So now I’m a Level Two Pipefitter Apprentice! I worked really hard to do those six weeks of theory. I can’t wait to get back to work in the weeks to come and put those skills to use!