The shop at New Brunswick Southern Railway in Saint John is busy with employees inspecting, repairing and maintaining locomotives, railcars and track equipment. It’s a place where you’d expect to see grease-stained hands, work boots and overalls, but you don’t necessarily expect to see them on a 20-year old woman.
Rebecca Nicolle, a diesel mechanic, is pursuing her red seal in industrial mechanics and is the only woman in the shop. “I knew I was getting into a male-dominated trade,” she said. “But I’ve found if you prove yourself as a hard worker, you become one of the family.”
Rebecca said there are no two days alike, and that variety is what keeps her motivated. “Inspections, repairs, motors, cylinders, pistons and wheel change outs. You never know what your day is going to look like - and that’s exactly the way I like it.”
A few years ago, Rebecca never dreamed she’d be able to live and work in her home province. “In high school, I thought for sure I’d have to move out west for a job, I didn’t think I’d find work near my home, the small town of Grand Bay.” A co-op opportunity at New Brunswick Southern Railway in Grade 12 changed Rebecca’s perspective.
| Rebecca Nicolle, Diesel Mechanic
“I loved my 14-week co-op here. It’s really the best thing I’ve done because it set me on the path of skilled trades. The company paid for my education and all my textbooks at NBCC Saint Andrews. I just graduated this spring and started full-time right away.”
Rebecca says the sense of family she feels at the company has a benefit that carries over to customers. “Everyone here is dedicated to their work. We’re all focused on delivering the products on time and getting the job done safely.”
Rebecca encourages young people, especially girls to give trades in transportation a chance. “There is more opportunity than you think. You can have more than a job. You can have a career, while still being home for the special, and the ordinary, family occasions.”