Mediaplanet: When did you first consider a career in the skilled trades?

Isabella Villain: One of the most prominent memories from my childhood was the day my father got his red seal in the mail. He was so incredibly happy and proud of it because he knew it meant things would change for our family. When I was in high school I was trying to decide on a career path that would be both hands on and would allow for continuous learning. My father suggested that I try out painting and, remembering how much the trades changed his life, gave it a shot. I fell in love with it instantly.

MP: How do you feel that union membership has benefited you?

IV: Being a part of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades has helped my career substantially. The union is very encouraging of me achieving my goals and they are always suggesting new training to help with my advancement.  They even supported me when I was in the provincial skills competition. Additionally, being a union member has ensured that I will always have wage equality and an infinite amount of opportunity to promote the trades to other young women.

MP: What do you hope to achieve in your career?

IV: My goal is to  bring greater awareness of the trades as a viable option to today’s young women, and hopefully helping in a small way to ensure equality in the workplace. My hope is that women will continue to bring another perspective to the building trades, equipped with fresh new ambitions, ideas, and a desire to succeed. I want to represent the union as a role model for young women by getting my journeyman ticket, eventually becoming a NACE certified inspector, and continuing to be an advocate for equality in the workplace.