Trading on her experiences – Quesnel kids learn industry

Lisa Scott (centre) led a pair of industrial trades camps for youth, over spring break. One was for girls, the other for Indigenous kids. (Construction Foundation of BC photo)
Kids like Sam Smith found the industrial learning to be riveting, thanks to try-it camps held in Quesnel over spring break. (Construction Foundation of BC photo)
Trades careers as a future option got burned into the imaginations of Quesnel kids like Deagan Yaffe at industrial introduction camps held over spring break. (Construction Foundation of BC photo)
Some kids got to hammer out some new ideas about a career in the industrial trades, thanks to some try-it camps held in Quesnel over spring break. (Construction Foundation of BC photo)
Quesnel kids like Emery Jensen got to try out a wide range of trades tools and learn some introductory industrial skills at instructional camps over spring break. For some, it ignited new passions. (Construction Foundation of BC photo)

Trades careers were introduced to a couple of demographic groups not strongly represented in those professions, but loaded with the potential. Lisa Scott sees it. She took the lead, during spring break, to make the light brighter for those kids.

One of the orientation camps she led was for Indigenous youth, the other for girls. The age range for each was 10-13.

As a Red Seal electrician who has worked in a number of industrial settings (she currently works for School District 28), she rallied the support of the Construction Foundation of BC (CFBC) to hold these introductory experiences for young people in Quesnel, free of charge.

“Last year, I went into the CFBC office and saw all the amazing work they were doing with youth, and I immediately wanted to bring that work back to Quesnel,” said Scott. “I was working as a maintenance electrician at the school district in Quesnel, so applying what I was doing in the trades to a shop class setting made sense.”

This spring break marked the second year in a row she has conducted the camps, spreading the hands-on trades experience to a widening circle of young people.

“It’s really great to see the pride the students show when building their projects,” added Scott. “It’s fun to watch them develop these skills and confidence and watch what they have completed. Sometimes, it’s hard to pull them away from the projects that they are working on as they are so engaged when it’s time to break for lunch.”

Scott has 21 years of professional experience to pass on, and she still remembers well the tipping point where something she was doing as a job in her youth suddenly became a career dream.

“During the last week of a mill shutdown I was working on, I met an older woman welder,” said Scott. “She also told me about the trades, opportunities, and money available in industry. That’s when I thought, ‘If this lady could do it, so could I.’ Being a single mom at a young age, I thought this could be a great career path that I wanted to pursue and create a better life for my son and I.”

These camps were supported financially, so the kids didn’t have to pay their way into this experience, by the Construction Foundation of BC, Skilled Trades BC, West Fraser Mills, BC Centre for Women in the Trades, BC Tradeswomen Society, College of New Caledonia, Dakelh Education and Employment Society, Service Electric and Nedco.

Other supporters from the private sector also took part.

“I call out some of my friends and different folks from industry who want to inspire youth,” said Scott. “It’s so heartfelt, the support that comes together for this.”

Industrial technology company Arbios Biotech posted on social media following the camps that they were proud of their employee, Lana Love, for being involved in the instruction.

“The main highlight for me was seeing these young women’s confidence grow over the week. Watching them use a tool for the first time and seeing them improve in their abilities over the course a few short hours was awesome,” Love said.

Scott said MLA Coralee Oakes was a helpful supporter early in the process, and West Fraser has been a staunch backer of the program providing gathering space, shop space, equipment demonstrations and site tour. The Cariboo Campus was also a main site.

Each camp day began with morning stretches and roundtable discussions in a classroom setting before heading to the workshop. Snack breaks and a midday lunch were included, before participants returned to the shop for the afternoon to work on a variety of projects.

Summertime is also when camps like these will run, and now Scott is getting calls from other communities to come do camps for them, or provide a template so their local industrial instructional leaders can do it.

“I think we can all do a better job of creating opportunities for the youth coming up, and for industries we all rely on in our communities,” she said. “These are well paying, super fulfilling and rewarding jobs and we have a shortage in those trades, so this is great for everyone,” Scott said.

To contribute to future camps like this, please email Scott at

READ MORE: HOMETOWN HEROES: Breaking barriers, opening doors for women in the trades

READ MORE: Youth discovering the trades at industry-supported summer camps in Quesnel

Lisa Scott would like to thank the many individuals and sponsors who contributed to these kids’ experiences.

The people that came out to help and/or volunteer were:

Rene Ragetli – Teacher

Christine Burns – Utility Arborist/ OH&S Safety Rep

Tammy Lee Hawkins – Career Coordinator

Lana Love – Red Seal Millwright/Red Seal Welder

Randy Grey – Teacher

Stu Lebeck – Woods Manager for West Fraser

Taylor Rose – 3rd Electrical Apprentice

Karen Green – Indigenous Support Worker

Tracey Telford – Indigenous Support Worker

April Kopetski – Parent Volunteer/ Custodian

Rob Wilkie – Red Seal Plumber

Brittney Smith – 2nd year Electrical Apprentice

Tom Sales – Red Seal Carpenter

Amber Swaan – Manager, Nedco

Alaura Jaggernath – Red Seal Millwright

(And me, Lisa Scott -Red Seal Electrician)

And a huge thank you to all the companies, people and industry partners who donated, came to help out and volunteered their time to make these camps such great successes.

The construction Foundation of BC

Skilled Trades BC

The BC Centre For Women in The Trades

West Fraser Mills

BC Tradeswomen Society

Arbios Biotech


Terus Construction

Service Electric

Artimis Gold

The College of New Caledonia

Dakelh Education and Employment Society

Vancouver Island District Council


McDonald’s Quesnel

School District #28

EducationQuesnelskilled trades