- Role Model -
Name: Kayla Howard
Occupation: Heavy Equipment Operator
Employer: City of St. John’s
Education: Heavy Equipment Operator (Certificate) CNA
Hometown: St. John's, NL
Current community of residency: St. John's, NL
What does your typical work day involve?
My typical work day involves a lot of outdoor work. I’m a Second Class Operator in the Waste & Recycling department with the City of St. John’s. On some days I collect garbage with the automated hydraulic arm, on other days I have to manually throw the garbage and operate a tandem dump truck, standing up on the right hand side. I usually work alone and I’m in all different parts of the city!
What do you love most about your profession? Why did you choose this career?
The thing I love most is being out in the community, I enjoy driving for the majority of my shift and also the feeling of putting in a days work. I knew I didn’t want to sit in an office for my career and I though skilled trades could be fun, my fascination for big rigs for sure got the ball rolling.
When did you realize you wanted to work in STEM?
I realized in my last year of high school that heavy equipment may be the best place for me. I wanted an interesting job that would also make money, something that would challenge me daily. I like being hands on so it was the perfect choice for me. I knew 100% that I made the right decision at the first job I got after college.
What were your favorite subjects in school?
My favourite subjects in high school were Music and English, in college I enjoyed any class that involved hands on learning.
What advice would you give girls, who are still in school, who might be considering a career like yours?
My advice would be to just take the leap. You’ll never know for sure if it’s for you until you try. Trust your gut! Listen to what you want in your heart and not what anyone else says to you.
Why do we need more women in skilled trades and STEM?
We need more women in STEM and Skilled Trades for the simple fact they aren’t represented enough in these sorts of jobs. There are so many talented and fantastic women that don’t always get the recognition they deserve. It was nice when I was a young girl to have role models in the skilled trades!
Who was your role model? What about this person inspires you?
A woman named Patsy King is my role model! She’s small but powerful with a fantastic career behind her. She’s kind and funny. Always giving helpful advice and so friendly anytime you see her. She’s sweet, knowledgeable and made me realize I can do anything I want if I put the work into my career.
What do you do for fun? What are some of your hobbies/activities?
I love making crafts in my spare time, wooden decor and Christmas ornaments. I play volleyball once a week and still enjoy playing music on my guitar/piano.
What superhero do you relate to most? Why?
I really relate to Wonder Woman because she had large battles to face and took them head on in stride. She’s a very powerful woman with a great team behind her. I find watching the most recent Wonder Woman movie very empowering!
Anything else you wish to share?
The choice to go into Heavy Equipment was one of the most influential choices I made in my life. I took the leap and went away to school then came back home to start my career. Those 6 months away were hard but they really paid off. I love being at work and I couldn’t picture myself on any other career path.
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