Women-only Motive Power program prompts woman to start her own business

From Motive Power to Certified Partsperson to business owner, Karen Crotty finds there is plenty of room for success in the trades.
From Motive Power to Certified Partsperson to business owner, Karen Crotty finds there is plenty of room for success in the trades.

Karen Crotty has always been interested in cars. After having two wonderful children, she decided to enroll in Red River College’s 18-month diploma program in Motive Power that was created for women only.
She graduated from the program, but after entering the industry, Karen’s passion shifted and she became interested in the parts field. A parts store she frequented offered her a job and she was hooked.
After gaining valuable experience at the parts store, Crotty successfully challenged the Trades Qualifier Partsperson Certification Examination with Apprenticeship Manitoba. She received her Red Seal Certification and has enjoyed working in the field ever since.
With the help of her husband and two grown children, she now runs a family business called Heads-up! Parts & Machine Shop.
Crotty says the partsperson trade involves managing and selling an inventory of parts for vehicles, appliances, machinery and equipment. In today’s mechanized world, equipment often wears out, breaks down or becomes damaged. Providing the parts needed to repair this equipment is an important aspect of the service provided by retail stores, agencies and repair shops/parts stores.
Crotty loves her occupation in the parts industry and was excited to be selected to attend the National Occupational Analysis (NOA) workshop in Ottawa. The NOA workshop is part of the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program and brings together experts like Crotty to identify everything competent tradespeople must know and be able to do in their trade. This includes updating the knowledge standards as well as identifying the scope of the trade and changing trends and technologies.
The Red Seal Program also develops standardized curricula and exams for certain trades, and its exams and certifications are recognized in many provinces and increase mobility for people in the trades. Like the industry, the Red Seal Program is constantly evolving, and its rigorous approach to developing standards ensures Canada’s skilled tradespeople are of the highest calibre.
Crotty enjoys giving her input and has a unique perspective as a woman in her trade. She especially enjoys being involved with presentations at local high schools that inform young girls about careers in the trades.
She says many youth have a misconception about what it means to be in the motor vehicle repair industry. It is no longer a “grease monkey” job, since the majority of the work involves technology and computers. Crotty feels she is a role model for young women because of her wide range of experiences in the industry, from being a Certified Partsperson to a manager, and finally, operating her own business.
Crotty is looking forward to taking the challenge of training her own apprentice. As her business and industry continues to expand, the knowledge that she can pass on to the next generation is invaluable.
If you enjoy working with people, have an interest in fixing things and enjoy helping others solve practical problems related to repairs, you may want to consider becoming a Certified Partsperson.
Some of the skills required are good manual dexterity and the ability to think visually. Since there are many types of equipment that need parts, Crotty suggests working in an area of special interest, as she did with motor vehicles.
-Apprenticeship Manitoba

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