Erin Karaim at ASTTBC event

Erin Karaim

Civil Engineering Technician

WSP

Sector: Architecture and Construction, Engineering, Technology

Born: BC

Location: BC

Education: Workplace Training / College/Technical

Type: Career Profile

Subjects:

Art, Industrial Arts, Technology & Engineering

Careers, Civil Engineering, Computers, Construction, Design, Engineering

Erin Karaim at ASTTBC event
Erin KaraimCivil Engineering Technician
I am motivated by

Every day I have the opportunity to learn something new. I enjoy providing input into things that I know are going to be built, whether it’s a water treatment plant or a parking lot.  I work with many smart people that challenge me in ways I might not be in another career. I am encouraged to think and be creative every day. While it’s not as cool as painting, I still get to produce a drawing that allows for some creativity!

I am motivated by
My career path is

I did not expect to be doing this when I was in high school. I wanted to be an artist first. Then I was gently reminded most artists don’t make a lot of money. I applied to the school of social work. However, I did not get into the program. I was taking drafting in high school. Drafting is the process of making technical drawings of how something works or built. It was kind of artsy and gave me an outlet for drawing. In addition, as I was to find out, it had potential for a career. I worked at an engineering firm on a work experience week. I had the chance to do some drafting and turns out, I was really good at it! The firm hired me out of high school. I learned on the job, and it all progressed from there.

My career path is
My advice to others

Drafting is a great profession to get into. The learning curve is not steep, and schooling can be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. It’s a great alternative to traditional careers for women, and can provide a lot of flexibility and career progression.

My advice to others
How I affect people's livesI like seeing the projects I work on built. As an example, I worked on the plans for the City of Nanaimo welcome signs. Every time I go to Nanaimo I get a little sense of pride in seeing something I worked hard on come to life.
How I affect people's lives
Outside of work I

I enjoy hiking, camping, and hanging out with my dog. I also play way too many video games and like to fall asleep with a book. I like painting and creative pursuits in general.  I recently started needle felting and now my house is filled with silly little stuffed animals that I don’t know what to do with!

Outside of work I
What I do at work

I work for the engineering consulting company, WSP.  For the last 5 years, I have worked from a home office. As most of my work is done on the computer, I can sometimes go a full day without talking to someone. Generally, my day involves looking at my to-do list and deciding which deadlines are most pressing. Sometimes I have projects that will last weeks, others just a few hours. Most of the time I am drawing up engineering plans that will then be used by the construction industry to build projects. My work varies from pipe plans and profiles, to road design and ditching. Sometimes it includes planning a subdivision. I use specialized software that makes my job a breeze. Most of my work communication is done using email, Skype or Microsoft teams. I work with engineers all over the country.

What I do at work
About me

I was born/grew up in: I was born and grew up in Port Alberni, BC

I now live in: Currently I live in Campbell River

I completed my training/education at: I did a 1-year drafting certification at Kwantlen College in Surrey, BC. My training ended up being mostly on the job over years of working closely with engineers. A quicker way to my job would be to take a 2 year diploma program

About me

When I was

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Geography
  • History
  • Industrial Arts/Shop Programs
  • Literature and English language arts
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Liked helping people
  • Liked reading
  • Played video games
  • Was really creative
  • Didn't really care about grades
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Learned best “by doing"

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Partners

Advancing Women in Engineering and Technology

Let's Talk Science would like to thank the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) for connecting us with the individual profiled above.

Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) is leading the Advancing Women in Engineering and Technology Project, a Sector Labour Market Partnership project, funded through the Canada-BC Workforce Development Agreement. The project’s goal is to increase the participation of women in the engineering, geoscience, technology and technician occupations through the implementation of diversity and inclusion strategies to recruit, retain and support career development of women to lead a system level cultural shift within these professions.

 

ASTTBC Technology ProfessionalsFunding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement