Cressen: Challenging the Comfort Zone

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“I’m a success story!” Cressen declared. Her face heated as she realized she’d spoken up in a room with well over a hundred people. She’d been quietly listening to a panelist discussion at the Women in Trades Conference, but when someone asked about the success rate of the Industry Training Authority (ITA) Youth Train in Trades Program (formerly ACE-IT), Cressen knew she had to speak up.

Cressen is incredibly passionate about the Youth Train in Trades program, as she describes the career she now enjoys because of it. She’s proud to not only be working for the Surrey School District, but also for being recognized as the first female carpenter hired by them. Cressen found the program helped her discover her own path and, at the age of 22, she enjoys an established career.

Cressen credits a large part of her success to her teachers and would like to acknowledge all those who helped her along the journey of becoming the person she is today.

“The teachers are both passionate and compassionate about what they do. I honestly would not be here today without them! If you are struggling with a concept, they will take the time to help you figure it out before moving on to the next step.”

Cressen doesn’t hold back when it comes to sharing tips about her success. She wants youth considering trades to know what it takes to succeed. She encourages young adults—especially young women—by letting them know they’re capable of enjoying the type of success she’s experienced, “I’ve walked onto a jobsite as the only female among 150 men. It’s intimidating, but you have to have the confidence to say, ‘I’m good at what I do, and I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.’” She admits getting there takes time, and she knows she was fortunate enough to be in a related environment growing up. Her father, a gas fitter and a plumber, often brought her along on side jobs and gave her the opportunity to help. “Also, he didn’t want to hire a babysitter,” she adds with a laugh.

Cressen is clear proof that seizing unfamiliar opportunities can help aid both your career and personal development. In the process, the mentoring she received influenced her decision to volunteer with ITA, and now she’s paying it forward with advice to others. Thank you, Cressen, for sharing your story!