Skilled Trades Careers

SkillHero Spotlight: Nora (Journeyman Electrician)

DateFebruary 15, 2024
Nora Taylor

Nora Taylor (@nora_amaala)’s journey to become an IBEW Journeyman Electrician didn’t come without challenges, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t triumphs along the way.

Nora Taylor (1)

With over a decade of experience under her belt, Nora sheds light on the often overlooked virtues of blue-collar work, her transition from non-union roles to a pivotal union position, and her fight against stereotypes in a male-dominated field.

This blog post is a part of our skilled trade professional spotlight series. Check out our post on Instagram to see Nora in action. You can also view the Q&A on our LinkedIn account. This dialogue aims to enlighten aspiring trade professionals on the opportunities and personal growth the skilled trades offer. Let’s dive in!

Q&A with Nora Taylor, IBEW Journeyman Electrician

SkillHero: Nora, reflecting on your career, what would you say are the most fulfilling aspects of trade work, and what benefits do you think are frequently overlooked by the public?

Nora Taylor: The most rewarding aspects of being an electrician are the sense of accomplishment, camaraderie, and pride in craftsmanship. People often overlook the stability, as well as the excellent pay, healthcare, and retirement benefits.

SkillHero: Can you walk us through what inspired you to pursue becoming an IBEW Journeyman Electrician?

Nora Taylor: Well, I have 13 years in the field, and I was non-union for the majority of my career. The local union that I'm now a proud member of organized one of the non-union companies that I worked for. I had to take a test, and I passed as a journeyman. I knew that I needed a serious change. I was working dead-end jobs and struggling with addiction, and my life had spiraled out of control. Getting into the trades was like an awakening for me! I honestly knew right away that I had found my calling.

SkillHero: On that note, what advice would you offer to the younger generation looking to enter the skilled trades?

Nora Taylor: My advice to the younger generation would be never give up on yourself. You can do anything that you put your mind to, I know it sounds cliche, but it's the truth! All it takes is a bit of grit and determination.

SkillHero: Could you share some of the challenges faced during your apprenticeship and how you overcame them?

Nora Taylor: So, I did my apprenticeship non-union, which was a different experience from what a union apprenticeship is like. I worked during the day and went to school two nights a week (that part is similar) but my biggest challenge was that I had to pay for school myself, all my books and everything, and I was told that upon completion, I would be reimbursed half of the money that I spent on school, but I never saw a dime of that reimbursement.

Another challenge that I had to face was being made to feel like I didn't belong by some of the journeymen within the two non-union companies that I worked for. As a woman in the trade, and a black woman at that, I wasn't welcomed by all, but I was by most, and that made things a bit easier. Not all non-union companies are like this. Some are better, and some are worse.

SkillHero: What are some of the most important lessons you learned during your apprenticeship?

Nora Taylor: Some of the biggest lessons I learned are: Always stay teachable! It's important to be teachable in the trades because things are changing within the construction industry all of the time. You'll never know it all! Also, be nice! You never know what someone else is going through!

SkillHero: As a trailblazer in a traditionally male-dominated field, what unique perspectives do you bring to your work?

Nora Taylor: I would say that I bring diverse problem-solving skills, as well as attention to detail.

SkillHero: Can you share a moment when you challenged stereotypes or overcame obstacles in your field?

Nora Taylor: On one job, part of my responsibilities was to handle all deliveries. I had all of the apprentices on site available whenever we got large deliveries, and all except two were men. One day, in particular, we got quite a large order of 4-inch rigid pipe. I jumped right in with all of the men and carried a 4-inch rigid pipe on my shoulder, stick by stick until the truck was unloaded.

If that ain't stomping on the stereotype of women not being able to pull their own weight in the trades, then I don't know what is. SkillHero: What are some of the hobbies or DIY projects you're working on that you're particularly proud of?

Nora Taylor: I'm currently working on my office in our new home. So far, we painted it and I began setting it up just how I want and need it. I'm also going to update the light fixture as well as the switch.

SkillHero: Lastly, how do your skills as an electrician influence your approach to these projects?

Nora Taylor: I love that I can just jump right in and take care of what needs to be done without second-guessing or needing to call someone to come and do it for me. I have a strong mechanical aptitude.

Nora’s journey from facing personal and professional hurdles to becoming an IBEW Journeyman Electrician underscores the importance of perseverance, the value of skilled trades, and the power of finding one's calling. Her story serves as a reminder of the resilience, dedication, and passion that define the heart of blue-collar work.

Nora Taylor (2)

Embark On Your Own Skilled Trade Journey

Like Nora, many individuals are seeking a fulfilling career path that aligns with their passions and strengths. SkillHero stands as a beacon for those exploring the trades, offering a platform where aspiring professionals can connect with mentors, access educational resources, and discover apprenticeship opportunities.

By creating a free profile on SkillHero, you can embark on a journey similar to Nora's, equipped with the tools and community support to navigate the challenges and celebrate the triumphs. Don't let stereotypes or obstacles deter you; join SkillHero today and start crafting your success story in the skilled trades.