Ontario Construction News staff writer
In celebration of International Women’s Day 2023, the Middlesex Workforce Development Partnership (MWDP) hosted an in-depth interview with Jamie McMillan, founder of KickAss Careers.
McMillan tells all about her journey into the skilled trades and her experiences as a journeyman ironworker.
In 2014, after years of individual efforts to promote skilled trades and technology pathways McMillan and Pat Williams, a retired stationary operating engineer, joined forces to raise awareness about the international labour shortage gap and the on-going effort to recruit and retain a future workforce.
They decided to create an inclusive program to raise awareness to students about apprenticeship and career pathways in skilled trades and technology and in the fall of 2014 – KickAss Careers was launched.
With help from students, teachers, parents and union members, they created engaging presentations, unique experiences and authenticity encouraging young women and men to follow career paths that offer economic security, practical knowledge and lifelong skills.
The Kick Ass mission is to engage, educate and encourage students of all ages to consider the vast opportunities for sustainable careers in skilled trades and technology through apprenticeship, technical programs and the armed forces.
McMillan became an ironworker in 2002 when women only represented 2 per cent of the skilled trades workforce across Canada and the United States.
Through KickAss Careers, she provides keynote presentations and workshops to more than 50,000 students, parents, educators and employers each year across North America. Her efforts have gained international notoriety for opening doors and minds to the possibilities of well-paid careers in skilled trades and technology sectors.
Watch the video to hear her story.