Robyn Schaapman

Year: 2019
Location: Edmonton
Profile: Robyn Schaapman is a journeyperson electrician dedicated to involving more women in skilled trades. A member of IBEW Local 424, she has co-chaired its Sisters of 424 Committee whose projects have included visits to schools and day camps to demonstrate electrician trade basics. She served as an Alberta founding member and IBEW 424 representative to Build Together – Women of the Building Trades. Their focus includes retention of women in trades, respectful workplaces, and pregnancy accommodation. Schaapman’s many awards for promoting the trades to women include the AFL International Women’s Day Award and the Recognition Award of the Edmonton branch of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). 
          Formerly a letter carrier, Schaapman received pre-apprenticeship training at Local 424. Her apprenticeship began with industrial work before she shifted to commercial electrical work. She praises the mentorship throughout the process from apprenticeship to journeyperson certification. Schaapman has encountered difficulties finding appropriately sized asbestos suits, masks, and safety glasses. Economic downturns have meant periods of unemployment for her. She applauds the advantages of union membership, including pay and benefits, training programs, and health and safety.
Keywords: Alberta Federation of Labour IWD Award; Apprenticeship; Build Together; Electrician; Journeyperson certification; LEAF Award; Sisters Committee; Unemployment; Union advantage; Women foremen.
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See also: Women and Work; Women in the Skilled Trades; IBEW; Health and Safety