Carol Daniels, apprentice plasterer and drywallerCarol Daniels, apprentice plasterer and drywaller

James Smith First Nation, SK

Carol Daniels

Apprentice plasterer and drywaller Carol Daniels has always loved tools. As a young girl on the James Smith First Nation reserve, east of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Carol spent her evenings rooting through her father’s toolbox. Her father, whom Carol calls her hero, worked as a carpenter in Canada’s residential construction industry.

“He would come home with one of those old-fashioned wooden tool boxes,” Carol says, “and I would pull out all the tools and play with them.”

Although she didn’t know it at the time, those evenings would eventually lead Carol to her dream career.

Carol didn’t enter the construction industry right away. After moving to Saskatoon in her late twenties, she spent several years working as a cook at various fast-food restaurants. But Carol didn’t feel fulfilled in her work and knew she wanted something more.

Sadly, Carol couldn’t ask her father’s advice on a new career path; he had passed away several years earlier. But she had always been inspired by him and his work, and decided to go into the construction industry as a tribute to his memory. “What he did was probably better than anything,” she says. “He built houses and that’s something that’s always going to be there.”

Carol applied to the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies’ (SIIT) Women in Trades program. SIIT Job Coach Coordinator Shelley McNab saw Carol’s potential and passion for the industry, and helped her find work as a plasterer and drywaller with a company called R&D Drywall.

Right away, Carol knew she had found her calling. “It was something that I knew instantly that I wanted to do,” she recalls. “Be in that environment. Have that sense of accomplishment… I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”

Now 37 and a second-year apprentice working for Alpine Interiors, Carol has worked on many commercial construction projects in Saskatoon, including high-rises, hotels and movie complexes. “When I go around the city and I look at the [structures] I helped build, I always think: ‘Yeah, I did that! I was part of that.’ ”

But the best part of her job, she says, is knowing that her accomplishments would have made her father proud.