6 months ago
When Cecile Bukmeier (Auto Body Technician '15) started working in an auto body shop as a teenager, her boss relegated her to sweeping the floors and taking out the trash - tasks that taught her nothing about refinishing cars but everything about attitudes women in the trade sometimes faced.
"There were very few women at this shop," she says, "and there were none working in the back of the garage."
Today, after several years of proving herself in the industry, Bukmeier is the first female instructor in NAIT's Auto Body Technician program - a program that began more than 50 years ago.
She comes to the job as one of the province's top technicians, having earned gold medals in auto body competitions at Skills Canada Alberta (a kind of Olympics for the trades) in 2013 and later at the national level. But she also joins NAIT as one of Alberta's strongest advocates for women in trades, and hopes to guide apprentices through the challenges she herself faced - if not to help eliminate those challenges altogether.