Emily - Women in trades

Apprentice Plumber – Emily Schmit

Trade: Second-Year Apprentice Plumber
Employer: Oceanview Mechanical
Location: Victoria, BC

Emily Schmit is – literally – rolling up her sleeves to get the job done. This job is assigned by Josh Stull, an instructor at Camosun College in the Plumbing and Pipe Trades. This job is a sink repair. The sinks are lined up in the shop class and some of Emily’s fellow second-year plumbing apprentices are completing the same job. This is not a clean job.

“I love the dirty aspect! The trades are dirty jobs. It is what it is, but you shower and get rid of it!” says Emily.

Second-year plumbing apprentice and STEP participant, Emily Schmit, working at Camosun College in Victoria, BC.

Emily is excited about the trades – specifically plumbing and all its aspects. She’s excited about this shop current job, just as she’s excited about the classroom portion of her apprenticeship training and her full-time work at Oceanview Mechanical that she’ll return to. She stays motivated.

“Emily is a great contributor to class. She always has great questions – always probing and confirming questions. She has quite a bit of experience to draw from which is always great,” says Josh.
That experience, in part, comes after five and a half years in University. Emily came out of school with a degree in psychology and doubt about her career path.

“I wasn’t super happy with [the degree],” she says. “So, I asked my dad, ‘What should I do?’ And my dad said, ‘You should be a plumber.’ I went and I did it. I fell in love with it. It’s not a complex story, I wish I had a better one.”

For some, it can be a fork in the road that leads in a new career direction and for others it can be a complete shake up to find the right path. To find a career that is challenging, fulfilling, and rewarding, there is no set path or guaranteed complex story. It can be as simple as someone planting the seed in your mind and the next thing you know you’re rolling up your sleeves.

“What I love about plumbing is that you get a hands-on feeling for exactly what you’re doing. It’s kind of like Legos: you get a sheet as to what you’re supposed to build, and you get to build it and watch it work. You make it work,” says Emily.

Josh Stull, Camosun College instructor in the Plumbing and Pipe Trades, with plumbing apprentice, Emily Schmit.

Before Emily was an apprentice with Oceanview Mechanical, she was a recent foundation training graduate looking for an entry-level apprenticeship position. That’s when she connected with STEP’s Regional Employment Placement Specialist (REPS), Zuzana Capeau, in Victoria, BC.

“My goal as a STEP REPS is to not just get someone a job that’s going to last a year or so, but to really get them working on the apprenticeship track so they get their journeyperson ticket in the end,” says Zuzana. “That was my main goal with Emily. She needed help on her resume. She had a lot of skills from school and previous jobs that we just had to highlight on a one-page resume.”

And once the job search was done and a position confirmed, Zuzana helped Emily prepare for her first day on site.

“[STEP] got me an impact driver. They were also able to get me hacksaws, chisels, screwdrivers, bits – pretty much everything I needed – copper cutters, pipe cutters, and measuring tape,” says Emily.

Emily Schmit, second-year plumbing apprentice and STEP participant, at Camosun College in Victoria, BC.

This extra help worked to ensure Emily was set up for success. She had the motivation and energy; STEP made sure she was prepared and informed.

As for Emily’s future, Red Seal is part of the plan.

“My future goals are just to be a very good plumber. I will try to improve and be better every day. The end goal is to run my own company, to own my business. The path to get there is going to be a lot of self improvement.”


Interested in a career in the skilled trades? Connect with a STEP Regional Employment Placement Specialist (REPS) today.

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