Carly Rush Is Shaping her Apprenticeship into a Career that FitsNovember 27, 2018 I didn’t know that working in sheet metal would be a calling when I graduated high school. When I finished school I tried a number of different jobs. I never got the feeling they were leading to a career I could stick with. They did show me that I liked physically demanding work, building things, and problem solving.
I had coworkers suggest I become an apprentice. I started getting serious about it after talking with a family friend who was an electrician. I applied for an electrician apprenticeship and was told that the best way for me to start was by checking out a pre- apprenticeship program. That’s how I found Oregon Tradeswomen.
Oregon Tradeswomen promotes success for women in the trades. There are not many women I know working in the trades and through Oregon Tradeswomen I saw other women doing this work. It was the first time I really thought that this was something I could do.
I had planned to be an apprentice electrician, but on-site visits and experience working with metal showed me that sheet metal work really called to my interests. My apprenticeship is a five-year program requiring 8,000 hours of on-the-job experience and completing 25 related classes. Classes are provided through a partnership with Mt. Hood Community College. One of the great benefits is I can complete my apprenticeship and have the option to get an associate’s degree by taking a few more classes.
I’ve learned a lot in my four years as an apprentice. You don’t need to know everything when you start. You learn, make mistakes, and develop skills. My apprenticeship has given me the self- confidence and trust in myself to bend whatever challenge I have back into shape.
Working in the trades can be challenging at times; the work is physically demanding and sometimes requires working in challenging spaces. Apprenticeships are not for everyone, but they are for anyone interested in exploring a lasting career that fits.
For more information about the pre- apprenticeship program that helped me, check out tradeswomen.net.