Welcome to the British Columbia Construction Association’s Skilled Trades Employment Program

Krysta Belfry – Apprentice Electrician

Krysta Belfry has packed a lot of living into her first twenty-some years.

There were missteps and unexpected roadblocks along the way – but with the support of her friends and family, and the help of the Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP), she is well on her way to earning an excellent living in the trades.

For several years, Krysta worked a series of low-wage retail jobs. During this part of her life, she gave birth to a lovely daughter.  However, after her maternity benefits ended, she found it difficult to find a job which would suit her role as a Mom, and ended up on social assistance in order to pay her bills.

When her daughter turned three, Krysta enrolled at Vancouver Island University to do some upgrading. Although she didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do, Krysta says she was leaning towards the skilled trades because she was “way too energetic to sit behind a desk – I like to build things and use my brain.”

“All I knew for certain was that I didn’t want to become a ‘Welfare Mom’, stuck in some lousy job at minimum wage. That’s not what I wanted for my daughter.”

After a chance encounter with a woman in her fifties who was a second year electrical apprentice, Krysta was inspired, and at long last chose her career – as an electrician. Soon afterwards, she met with an old friend whose father owned an electrical company. Krysta was invited to his shop and started working as a general labourer, cleaning the shop and doing odd jobs, but quickly decided she wanted to move up the ranks and become an apprentice.

That’s where STEP came in.

Krysta met with a Victoria-based STEP Regional Employment Placement Specialist who worked with Krysta and her employer to create an opportunity for Krysta to get the training she desired, and provided her commitment to the employer. The STEP rep also helped Krysta with the apprenticeship registration process.

Kevin observed: “Krysta is a young, ambitious woman in good physical condition. STEP was able to help her move from a position as a laborer towards a rewarding career as an electrical apprentice.”

krystaKrysta is continually grateful for the opportunity and realizes the difference it made in her life. “STEP couldn’t have come at a better time in my life,” she says.  “It allowed me to push ahead when I had hit every roadblock imaginable. To come into a program like STEP that said ‘we’re going to help you’ was awesome.”

She is thrilled with her new apprenticeship. “There are a lot of people who are stuck doing something they don’t like. I get up in the morning and love my job; I have something to look forward to. I have goals and aspirations.”

When asked if she had any advice for women looking to break into the trades, Krysta offers this:

Stop thinking you can’t, stop standing in the shadows saying ‘aw, I can’t do that cause I’m female’.  Get up off your butt and work hard and go for it. The end result is extremely rewarding.

Krysta is moving forward with her life, beyond the many obstacles that stood in her way.

“It’s been a long journey but things have been looking up. I tell everybody about STEP – I really think it’s a program that will help and does help; it was really good to me. Anybody can do anything they put their hearts into, and the feeling when you succeed… it’s like floating on a cloud.”

View more STEP Success Stories | Contact the STEP team