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Amy Bishop is smart. But that doesn’t mean she was cut out for a life of academia at university.

“I actually tried university and I failed,” said the 24-year old, who hails from Moncton, NB.

“I would have found this earlier, had I not been pointed away from the trades.”

The ‘this” Bishop refers to is the industrial/construction electrical program, in which she is currently enrolled at the College of the North Atlantic in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Bishop credits her enjoyment of the program, in part, to her Asperger’s, which falls under the autism spectrum umbrella. In fact, it was one of the first things she mentioned when asked why she was drawn to the trade in the first place.

“I don’t mind being a role model for others (with Asperger’s),” she smiled, when asked why she decided on the electrical program.

“I love the tidiness, working with my hands. You have to stay tidy and clean and that actually helps me with my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It feels like this is where I’m supposed to be.”

Bishop has family ties to Happy Valley-Goose Bay and moved to town about a year ago.

She says her class and instructor has been extremely supportive in accommodating her.

“With my Asperger’s, my colours are all swapped,” she explains. “I have to wear blue (safety) glasses. My class has also been great at keeping me involved and interacts socially. My instructor, Jordan, is fantastic at including everyone. I can’t say it would have turned out the way it did if he didn’t work so hard.”

“I actually tried university and I failed,” said the 24-year old, who hails from Moncton, NB.

“I would have found this earlier, had I not been pointed away from the trades.”

The ‘this” Bishop refers to is the industrial/construction electrical program, in which she is currently enrolled at the College of the North Atlantic in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Bishop credits her enjoyment of the program, in part, to her Asperger’s, which falls under the autism spectrum umbrella. In fact, it was one of the first things she mentioned when asked why she was drawn to the trade in the first place.

“I don’t mind being a role model for others (with Asperger’s),” she smiled, when asked why she decided on the electrical program.

“I love the tidiness, working with my hands. You have to stay tidy and clean and that actually helps me with my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It feels like this is where I’m supposed to be.”

Bishop has family ties to Happy Valley-Goose Bay and moved to town about a year ago.

She says her class and instructor has been extremely supportive in accommodating her.

“With my Asperger’s, my colours are all swapped,” she explains. “I have to wear blue (safety) glasses. My class has also been great at keeping me involved and interacts socially. My instructor, Jordan, is fantastic at including everyone. I can’t say it would have turned out the way it did if he didn’t work so hard.”

She added she was ’100 per cent sold’ on the program by the end of her second week.

“I love the ‘why’ of everything in electrical,” said Bishop. “If you’re a curious person, this is a great program. There’s a real aesthetic to it; it’s almost an art. It not only has to work, it has to look good because there will be someone coming behind you who has to figure out what you did.”

Bishop recalls she may have become interested in the trades even earlier in life had her high school offered more convenient time slots.

“My high school offered shop and arts, but at the same time,” she recalls. “The trades were always more geared towards the kids who couldn’t get into university.”

Bishop said given her academia background, she was glad she stuck to her guns when deciding on enrolling in the electrical program.

“I’m very happy with the College of the North Atlantic. They really prepare you for work in the real world.”

Scholarship

Bishop was recently rewarded for her efforts in class, as she was presented with a $2,000 scholarship this morning at the College.

She was one of eight women from across the province that was presented with a 2015 Trades Scholarship for Women program from Women in Resource Development Corporation (WRDC) and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (Hydro).

This marks the first year for this scholarship.

"With lead funding support from Hydro, WRDC was happy to partner on this initiative,” stated Cheri Butt, Chief Executive Officer of WRDC, in a recent press release.

“The allocation of the scholarship funds will help our organization increase women's participation in trades and technology, and provide much needed resources to female students pursuing trades programs."

"We recognized the need to help female students achieve their goals to work in the skilled trades and technology fields within the energy industry," said Dawn Dalley, Vice President Corporate Relations and Customer Service with Hydro in the release.

“The scholarship recipients could potentially choose to become Nalcor or Hydro employees, allowing us to tap into the full potential of a more diversified workforce in the future."

bonnie.learning@tc.tc

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