Building Her New Career:
Charleah’s Story

As soon as you begin chatting with Charleah – a recent high school graduate and winner of a Saskatchewan Youth Apprenticeship scholarship – her passion for carpentry shines through, guiding her forward as she starts her career in the trades.

One of her biggest supporters in this journey has been the Regina District Industry Education Council (RDIEC), an organization that supports up-and-coming trades workers in acquiring the skills and supplies they need to succeed in their fields. From required supplies, like the Youth+Us-sponsored “Boot Bank” that provides good-quality work boots, to the prioritization of strong leadership and educational opportunities, RDIEC is making a big difference and opening new doors for young people like Charleah.

Changing the Conversation Around Carpentry

Charleah recalls that her passion for carpentry started while helping her grandfather back when she was very young. “They lived in Indian Head, always building patios, or little sheds, things like that. It was always fun to help.”

“I think it’s definitely taught me a form of determination. Like, if you start something, you have to finish it and you can’t just pass it off to someone else. It should be you doing it if you started it.”

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As she got older, she realized it was something she could turn into a career. “I like doing things with my hands, being able to see it through from start to finish. The success of a job done well. It’s a lot more interesting than doing anything on paper. And it’s taught me determination – if you start something, you have to finish it. Don’t just pass it off to someone else.”

While her main interest is carpentry, she has gotten to learn about many other aspects of related industries as well, with the RDIEC helping to cover supplies and logistics. “We used the Boot Bank on a trial run we did with the pipefitters from Local 179,” she says. “Every Thursday for a few months, we would go out with them and learn about pipefitting. We’ve gone on a few field trips [through RDIEC], so it’s been really great to have the boots when we need them.”

As a young woman in the trades, Charleah is also motivated to improve the industry for the future. “I’ve always wanted to have my own business. A business that really pushes to have more oppressed people in its work force, like women or people of colour. A company where people can feel accepted, like it’s safe to join and work there.”


The Regina District Industry Education Council

Charleah was introduced to the RDIEC program through her involvement with Campus Regina Public, a career-oriented trade prep school that offers career planning, specialized training, and apprenticeship hours to registered Grade 11 and 12 students. “I’ve learned so many practical things at CRP,” Charleah says. “At my actual high school, it was more like woodworking – little boxes and shelves. This is much more like a real job.”

Mark Edmonds, the executive director at RDIEC’s office housed in Campus Regina Public, knows that the crossover support is a natural fit for many of the students there. “Many of the students who come [to CRP] for programming also access our RDIEC programs, such as career spotlights, summer youth internships, and career connections,” he points out. And knowing what kind of help is available through both CRP and RDIEC, Charleah doesn’t hesitate with her praise.

“I definitely couldn’t have gotten into carpentry without this program. It’s such a great resource,” she says about CRP. “And everything they teach – they’re important skills, not just busy work. I know I’ll end up using it later on.”

She is just as grateful about RDIEC. “I have told almost everyone I know about RDIEC and how it helps them get started at a place like CRP. It’s a great program that really gets youth into their careers – with training, and even helping get that first job after. I’m very happy to be a part of it.”