Campus Life  

OC alumna masters her trade on TV; panelist in upcoming webinar

OC alumna Cassidy McEown

While most college graduates can relate to the at times hectic challenge of balancing life, school and work during their student days, few know what it feels like to meet that challenge while followed around by a camera crew.

OC alumna Cassidy McEown is one who does. She has been learning her trade, Collision Repair and Refinishing, while on HISTORY’s Rust Valley Restorers (RVR) for the last three years.

“I generally work better under pressure, but having a camera over your shoulder while working on metal work is something you definitely have to get used to,” says McEown. “Being on RVR has been a really great experience. Of course I have felt a lot of pressure but it’s also been motivating for me to prove myself, not only to my coworkers but to all of the people who have been watching.”

McEown completed the College’s Motor Vehicle Body Repairer Apprenticeship program and became Red Seal Certified in August 2020.

“I spent a lot of time in my high school’s shop class. I had an amazing teacher and he really pushed me into pursuing Trades after high school,” adds McEown. “Both of my parents are mechanics so it kind of runs in the family, but nobody does body work except me.”

McEown has become quite the role model for women in trades since her time on the show aired, with an Instagram following nearing 100K.

“Being a woman in a male dominated industry has it struggles but it makes you have thick skin and a good sense of humour. A goal of mine is to be a good role model for women going into Trades. I want women to know that we can excel in this industry.”

Future trades students considering a career in the auto body industry are encouraged to attend an upcoming virtual event where they can hear more about McEown’s experience on the show and her time at OC.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of this event. It’s a really cool opportunity to be recognized by the College.”

OC’s Trades Training department will be hosting a live-streaming interview with McEown, OC Trades instructor Danny Marques and a representative from the Industry Training Authority (ITA) on Wednesday, June 16 from 6-7 p.m. on Zoom. Attendance is free and open to the public.

“This event will give the attendees a great opportunity to see what the potential is for young people coming into the collision/auto body trades,” says Marques. “The collision repair trades are very diverse, where people can either work on collision damaged vehicles or custom/restoration. Cassidy represents the potential for youth coming into trades and especially young women and how they can succeed in trades.”

The ITA works with employers, apprentices, industry, labour, training providers and the government to issue credentials, support apprenticeships, fund programs, set program standards and increase opportunities in the trades.

“ITA is focused on supporting women, young people and under-represented groups who want to pursue meaningful and rewarding careers in the skilled trades so it’s always great when we have champions of trades like Cassidy leading the way,” says Shelley Gray, CEO, ITA. “Cassidy is a shining example of hard work, passion and leadership and I have no doubt that her story will inspire other women and young girls to consider a career in the skilled trades.”

Attendees will have an opportunity to ask McEown questions regarding her experience as well as Marques about specifics in regards to Trades training at OC. Register here for the event.

The past three seasons of Rust Valley Restorers are available to stream on STACKTV, as well at history.ca and on the Global TV app.

For more information on OC’s Collision Repair and Refinishing program visit Okanagan.bc.ca/CollisionRepair.

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