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Mentors look to inspire next generation

Grade 6 students from around Flin Flon gathered at the Northern Manitoba Mining Academy Nov. 26 to get a taste of different trades.
Firefighter Sydni Morissette presented to the students about emergency response, dressing and breaking down pieces of firefighting gear. - SUBMITTED PHOTO

Grade 6 students from around Flin Flon gathered at the Northern Manitoba Mining Academy Nov. 26 to get a taste of different trades.

The Young Women’s Trades and Technology Olympics focused on giving young girls a hands-on experience with different professions. The event was organized by Skills Canada Manitoba and featured six mentors ready to bring their experience in the workforce to the kids.

Over 50 students from Ruth Betts Community School, École McIssac School and Creighton Community School participated in the half day event.

Landice Yestrau works as an environmental scientist at Hudbay. She walked students through an activity testing the quality of different water samples.

“I think it's always really valuable for people who are well into their careers to show younger kids who they are and the experiences they've had, especially at an event like this where there is a wide range of careers geared towards girls and having women and female mentors,” she said after the event.

Yestrau said she got the chance to attend similar events when growing up and was excited to give a similar experience to the next generation.

“It shows them there's a lot of different opportunities out there,” she said.

“You never know at what point along the way a kid's going to say, ‘Whoa, that's so cool, I definitely want to do that,’ or, ‘Hey, I totally hated that, maybe that's not for me,’ and all of these programs and these events give kids information and resources to keep making decisions along their own journeys. As a professional who had those experiences when I was a kid, it's always nice to give back when you're able to.”

Sarah Rebelo works as a metallurgist at Hudbay and also presented to the students. She said she presented last year, and jumped at the opportunity to present to a new group.

“It's just nice to support the girls who are trying to decide what they're going to do when they grow up and just give them some ideas of what metallurgy is and what I do,” she said.

Rebelo said the experience was rewarding.

“The feedback that I got from the kids was they liked every all the presentations,” she said.

“It was rewarding for sure.”

Lestrau said having a woman role model can be powerful at a young age.

“I think, especially in science and trades, sometimes we don't have as much access to female professionals in those careers,” she said.

“We often gravitate to people that we are similar to. It is important for everyone to see someone that resembles them in these different careers so that everyone knows they can do anything.”