Felicia Hanson’s future seemed set in stone. She was working alongside her mother as a childcare worker in at-risk homes. She thought she would follow in her mother’s footsteps, until a summer job changed everything.
“I took a job as an industrial painter to keep me busy over the summer,” Felicia recalls, “and I loved it.”
Having the chance to work with her hands, on a project that she could see coming together over the course of the summer, really gave Felicia a new purpose. She found fulfillment in the practical and physical work that she wasn’t getting in the classroom.
It wasn’t long before Felicia decided to follow her newfound passion and where she turned to the trades to become an electrician.
“It’s actually a funny story,” Felicia says. “I didn’t think I wanted to be an electrician, but that summer, when I was painting, we had to take shelter during a lightning storm, and I got to talking with an electrician at the site. He explained what he did and how much he loved it — it made me consider new opportunities beyond university.”
Felicia thrived in the industry and never settled for less than what she wanted. She saw a greater opportunity to expand her skills. Her experience as an industrial painter gave her the confidence and exposure to try other trades. It was a seamless transition.
She later found herself interested in carpentry and enrolled at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT), where she completed her Level One carpentry technical training. She excelled in her program, advancing to her apprenticeship with stand-out grades.
“I really enjoyed it,” Felicia says of her time as a carpenter. “Every day was different, and I worked on some pretty exciting commercial projects. Out at the airport, I helped revamp the old building, and I even took on some work at the mall here in Saskatoon. It’s cool to have your hand in large projects like this around the city. Especially in carpentry when you’ve helped build a physical thing — the results are right there.”
Her words of wisdom to other women considering the industry: “Make sure you enjoy what you’re doing! If the thought of working with your hands, seeing those instant results of your work, and less time learning in the classroom is appealing, the industry can be for you,” Felicia says. “Even my friends have started asking questions and are surprised by the opportunities in construction.”
The companies Felicia has worked for have all offered a welcoming environment — especially when she became a new mom and needed to make adjustments to stay close to the city. “It’s always been great,” Felicia says. “They really understand that family comes first.”
Just recently, she took a new job as an electrician with LaFramboise Group, starting yet another chapter in her rewarding career in the trades. Here, she works at a site helping wire a new food processing building.
I’ve been working on putting up conduit and wiring a control and supply room. It’s a new and exciting challenge for me, and I’m learning something new every day.”
“I love my job and I love what I do,” says Felicia. “The transition into the industry was seamless for me. There are a lot of programs out there to help you get your certifications, organizations to help you find equipment — even a pair of steel-toed boots to start working. It’s an industry that wants you to succeed.”