By Emma Kushnir, WorkStory Ambassador at Western University
Francesca Di Roma’s career began about a year and a half ago, when she started working as an Office Administrator for the Joint Apprenticeship Council (JAC) based in Bolton, Ontario. After finishing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Psychology at the University of Guelph-Humber, and a Bachelor of Education at York University, she found a career that she loves. She began working with apprentices as a Work Study student at Humber College’s Centre for Trades and Technology. Initially, she worked as a Front Desk Assistant and handled the majority of the general inquiries about their apprenticeship programs. After graduating from Guelph-Humber, the Joint Apprenticeship Council approached her and offered her a position working with them since - as she puts it – “I was so familiar with the steps of an apprenticeship”.
How best to explain Francesca’s work at the Joint Apprenticeship Council? She works with apprentices in the electrical trade – individuals who working in their field and on the path to becoming licensed electricians. Francesca is available to answer any questions regarding their apprenticeships. She explains that “a big part of the trade is safety, which is why I am also responsible for scheduling apprentices for several mandatory safety classes throughout their apprenticeship.”
When asked what she loves most about her job, Francesca notes that it combines her administrative work experience and skills with her passion for education. “The purpose of the JAC is to recruit, select, assess, counsel, and educate electrical apprentices in the Greater Toronto Area. Through an annual intake, we find candidates best suitable for an electrical apprenticeship. The basic breakdown of an intake includes an application process, aptitude test, and final interviews.” The JAC’s most recent intake was in June of 2015 and consisted of 950 applicants – of whom only 150 were selected! Francesca shares, “I really enjoy being a part of this unique process and continue to learn from it every single day I go to work.”
Francesca has wanted to be a teacher for as long as she could remember and was determined to get her Bachelor of Education. She explains that, upon graduating from university “I knew that I had to be patient as I wait to be on a [teaching] supply list. Until then, I told myself that if I couldn’t have my dream job right away, I would at least want a career in something I enjoy. That’s exactly how I feel about working at the JAC.” Her biggest decision in the process of getting to where she is today involved committing to a full-time job rather than taking time to continue to volunteer in schools. “The way I see it, I am still dealing with students, which is relevant experience and I love every second!”
Francesca’s advice to anyone trying to find a job is straightforward and upbeat.
“Never give up on your dream career. Rather than sitting at home waiting for your big break, spend time doing something that you enjoy to keep your spirits up and your attitude always positive!”