“I wanted them to be successful”: How Donna helped the next generation start their career in construction

As a teenager, Donna Mathieson was always the shy type, never one to speak up much, though you wouldn’t know it today. Now, as a construction supervisor at Forge Construction in Winnipeg, she not only interacts with people – she leads them.

Donna began her journey at 30 years old. She wanted a career change, and took an introductory carpentry course at a local high school. She fell in love – and not just with the smell of wood, but with picturing what she could do with it.

The following year, Donna took her Level 1 carpentry apprenticeship and started working as a tradesperson. Over the years, she gained valuable experience and took her first job as a site supervisor. It was a big apartment building renovation, and a role that did wonders for her confidence.

“I was in charge of everything. I had to be extremely organized. And that’s how I worked.”

Soon, Donna was helping others break into the industry, a high point in her rewarding career so for. As an instructional assistant at the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, she helped Indigenous People like herself get their Level 1 apprenticeship. It was a good learning opportunity, and Donna was proud to be a role model for youth in her community.

“I wanted them to be successful,” she says. “I found every single student a really good work placement.”

In her current role at Forge Construction, Donna continues to live her passion by overseeing a variety of commercial and residential projects. She does everything from managing clients to quoting jobs to supporting her team on the ground.

You take pride in your work,” she says. “I don’t think there’s a project that I’ve not been proud of, because they’re all so different.”

For people considering a job in construction, Donna has this to say: “It takes patience on both sides. Companies that hire new workers need to be patient, because the people they hire are still learning. And the person who’s just starting off has to be patient, too. If you stick with it, and you work hard, good things will come.”

Interested in a career like Donna’s?

Here are some resources that have helped her, or that she’s been involved with, throughout her career:

For more resources, including Canada-wide education opportunities and other career supports, visit our Talent Fits Here resource hub today.

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