Belmont student Hannah Leslie is the first female to win a Vancouver Island Construction Association scholarship.

Belmont student makes history with carpentry award

Industry may be male-dominated, but Hannah Leslie is making her mark

  • Jun. 25, 2015 4:00 p.m.

Hannah Leslie loves working with her hands.

A semester removed from the Carpentry Foundations Program at Camosun College, where she was the youngest in the class, the Belmont student secured enough credits to graduate high school before the last semester started.

Already having raised eyebrows by securing a $500 Vancouver Island Construction Association scholarship, her construction teacher at Belmont said none of Hannah’s accomplishments come as any surprise to him.

“In a trade that is male-dominated, some people hide, they lack that confidence. Hannah didn’t lack the determination to jump in,” Jason said.

“That is what I noticed, that Hannah was different…she just jumped in and did it.”

Jason, who shares the same last name but is no relation, said he had never met a female who just wanted to be a carpenter like Hannah did at the time – and saw her grow from someone who was  little bit reserved to start, to someone who was taking control of her own learning.

“Flipping through the still pictures from the beginning of the semester to the end, (you see) she was off to the side in February watching while males did it. But you see later on in March and April she now had tools in her hand and the guys are off to the side,” Jason said.

“Not that she pushed them aside, you could (just) see her comfort and confidence grow.”

He remembers Hannah was also often the first to finish the national certifications and competencies exams, where he realized right away she had the “textbook smarts,” before he had the opportunity to see her work with her hands.

Having taught her for a semester, he said “surprised,” but “proud,” when Hannah became the first female to win the VIMA scholarship.

“It’s pretty exciting and it’s cool for me to see. Usually only guys win them so it is cool as a woman to achieve that. I know that when I was looking to get into carpentry it was kind of weird,” Hannah said.

“There was no girls, you never hear about girls going really far in carpentry, but hopefully other (females) will.”

She said she is very much an outdoor person who enjoys working with her hands, following the footsteps of her father who has been a carpenter as long as she remembers.

Hannah will have already had two construction jobs as an apprentice before she’ll have attended her prom.

“When I was working in carpentry it was the happiest I have ever been, it doesn’t seem like work to me. Even though there is so much (labour), there is so much to be learned and so much to explore,” Hannah said.

“When you are a carpenter, that is really exciting…I just found something I really love doing.”

Jason said the possibilities for Hannah are endless, especially with the construction industry changing from a “blue collar plan B, to an option over white collar jobs.”

“People like Hannah are going to be the leaders in the construction industry in the West Shore. Once she has her Red Seal in carpentry she can go to way more higher levels and that is where I see her going,” Jason said.

“I see her working through every person male or female, working through all the facets of carpentry and becoming a journeyman or journeywoman, and once she has that certification she can look at project management.”

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Horse carriage supporters to rally outside city hall

Owner of carriage company plans rally in response to Coun. Ben Isitt’s motion

UVic science and engineering research gets $18.8 million federal funding boost

Funding for engineering, science, sustainability research

Victoria woman competing for role as Maxim cover model

Winning model gets featured spread in magazine, cash price

Songbirds return to their roost in the West Shore

Tips, such as keeping roaming cats from ruffling any feathers, can attract more birds

VIDEO: Fun without sun: Hundreds enjoy Family Fest on Victoria Day

Families enjoy activities in Veterans Memorial Park

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Most Read