Growing up with a love of the outdoors, Ali Hunt knew that as an adult, her career choice would not involve a desk or an office.
Instead, Hunt is one of only a handful of women who is watching her career soar — literally — through the Aircraft Structures Technician program at North Island College.
“I really enjoy (working with) sheet metal. It’s really neat to work with your hands and seeing the possibilities of what you can make from start to finish,” she said. “It’s very exciting and brings a lot of satisfaction.”
Born in Fort Rupert, B.C., Hunt — the daughter of artist/carver Calvin Hunt — grew up spending much of her time outdoors. After high school graduation, she joined the Katimavik program, which offers youth volunteer opportunities in unique experiences across Canada.
During the program, Hunt noted she spent some of the time “trying to figure out what to do” and knew her love of the outdoors had to play into her career choice.
She attended the Advanced Wilderness Leadership program through Capilano University and spent summers as a kayak guide in Port McNeill, which she enjoyed, but all the while “knew I wanted to go into trades.”
Last fall, Hunt entered the BCIT Trades Discovery program to allow students access to 20 different trades with hands-on experience.
“It was pretty amazing. We framed an 8×10 cabin, took a car engine apart and put it back together, and piping and sheeting. I really like the creativity,” she explained.
I really enjoyed working with sheet metal and seeing what you can make with it.”
Hunt pursued the program at NIC, and begins in September in Campbell River.
The 10-month program develops skills from sheet metal and wood to fabric and thermoplastics, and graduates receive recognition from Transport Canada for training and technical tests required for the technician licence.
As for being a female in a traditionally male-dominated trade, Hunt said she’s confident in her abilities.
“I know what I want and I’ll go for it,” she added.
While her tuition is being paid for by the North Vancouver Island Aboriginal Training Society, Hunt said despite holding down a job at the I-Hos Gallery, she will be short on living expenses.
She will be holding a fundraiser to help raise funds, with eight prizes and separate draw for items such as prints donated by her father, a silver eagle handmade pendant and a traditional reader bark hat, woven by Hunt.
Tickets are available from Hunt at the I-Hos Gallery located at 3310 Comox (Dyke) Rd., or by calling Hunt at 250-650-7443.
For more information on North Island College’s aircraft structures technician program, go to bit.ly/1lWLQZ5