Hiram Walker & Sons hires first Red Seal tradeswoman
By Maryam Farag
Windsor bottling facility hires first-ever Red Seal tradeswoman, Rebecca Chenier, at Hiram Walker & Sons.
Build a Dream President Nour Hachem-Fawaz encouraged Chenier, a Red Seal Machinist, to apply to Hiram Walker & Sons. The company was searching for a Bottling Mechanic for their Bottling Division and Chenier had the right qualifications.
Hachem-Fawaz met Chenier six years ago when Chenier applied for the Industrial Mechanic Millwright pre-apprenticeship program at Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor (WEST).
“Five of the six leadership roles in this division are held by women”, said Angelo DeMarco, Senior Director, Human Resources North American Operations. “This is the first in our company’s history to have a majority of women in senior roles in our distillery division and I am excited to employ that same strategy in a skilled trades division that has historically been male-dominated. Rebecca has already become a valued member of the team in her new role.”
As a single mother of three, Chenier graduated from the WEST program and immediately found an employer to sponsor her General Machinist apprenticeship. Four years later, she earned her Red Seal.
“I was attracted to Hiram Walker because it is such a big part of our city’s history”, said Chenier. “This position provides me with the chance to not only be a general machinist but to learn and expand my skills.”
As a Bottling Mechanic, Chenier is responsible for preventative maintenance, equipment repair and overall bottling efficiencies within the plant. While there are several women on the floor as technicians, Chenier is the first woman in the maintenance department, and she knows she won’t be the last.
According to Brendan Sweeney, Managing Director of the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing, only 3.8 per cent of General Machinists in Canada are women with Ontario coming in at four per cent, and Windsor falling below the Ontario average at 2.7 per cent.
Through Build a Dream’s Workforce Initiative Network (WIN) and partnership with Hiram Walker, the organization is working directly with industry to help attract, recruit, retain and advance women.
Chenier has agreed to continue her support of Build a Dream by being a Brand Ambassador.