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Darlington Refurb Project News

Quality Control Inspector believes future of women in trades is bright

Female BWXT worker with equipment in hand
Sarah Town is a Quality Control Inspector at BWXT working on the Darlington Refurbishment Project.

Horse-lover Sarah Town never imagined a career for herself outside of working as a rider in the Standardbred industry.

Now, seven months into her career as a Quality Control Inspector at BWXT in Cambridge through the United Steelworkers Union, she can’t imagine doing anything else. Town is currently assigned to the feeder cell, inspecting feeders destined for Unit 3 refurbishment at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.

As the horse-racing industry changed, Town knew it was time to reevaluate her career choice. Unable to find fulfillment in working a desk job, she began exploring her options, searching for a career that would offer her the work-life balance she needed to spend time with her horse while providing her with a sense of accomplishment.

After some encouragement to explore trades from a friend who made a similar career change, Town went back to school for Non-Destructive Evaluation.

“I was terrified,” Town said about pursuing a career in a trade. Only five per cent of tradespeople in Ontario are women, and her classes were male-dominated. “It was nerve-racking, but only for two or three days.”

She quickly realized she had the skills and aptitude needed to be successful in her chosen career path, and she enjoyed what she was doing.

The strongest factor that pushed her toward trade school was the ability to complete a program and be ready to work in just 16 months. Town completed her certificate in December 2018 through the Canadian Institute of Non-Destructive Evaluation program at Mohawk College, and was hired by BWXT in January 2019.

Sarah Town is currently inspecting feeders destined for Unit 3 refurbishment at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.
Sarah Town is currently inspecting feeders destined for Unit 3 refurbishment at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.

Flexibility was another factor in her career choice. “I love it because I can apply my training to so many industries.” Town knew she wanted to work in the nuclear industry, but was surprised by how many career opportunities she had.

“I like the job satisfaction of knowing we are working towards a bigger picture. It’s a great job that gives you a lot of freedom and room to grow.”

As the first female in her role at BWXT, she now works alongside three other women.

“Women in trades is a big deal,” she said.

Looking forward to the future of women in trades, she is excited to work alongside more women entering the field. She encourages anyone considering a career change or exploring opportunities to consider the trades. Her advice is simple – “Do it!”