Muskoka woman heads to Kansas City to compete in Lineman’s Rodeo

Mackenzie Gillan says skilled trades are great careers for women

A young Baysville woman is one of a select few to participate in this year’s International Lineman’s Rodeo.

23-year-old Mackenzie Gillan has been a line apprentice with Hydro One since 2020.

She head’s to Kansas City on October 12, along with ten of her colleagues, to compete in events based on traditional lineman tasks and skills.

The competition features 200 teams and 300 apprentices competing in events that are pivotal on the job, including the steel climb and the hurt man rescue.

Mackenzie Gillan-hydro one linesman
Mackenzie Gillan – Hydro One apprentice

Although a largely male-dominated trade, Gillan says line work is an excellent career path for women but one they rarely consider for themselves.

“Promoting the skilled trades as a viable career path seems to be lacking,” Gillan says.

Gillan’s journey into the trade started in 2018 when she began studying power line technician at Conestoga College. From there, she got an apprenticeship and then landed with Hydro One.

“Many people go to post-secondary school, which is great, but often you pay a large amount for that schooling.” She says. “Whereas skilled trades provide ‘earn while you learn opportunities. You learn on the job while you get specific training. And it’s skills you can take with you anywhere.”

To promote trades for women, Gillan was featured in a book called “Everyday Superheroes: Women in energy careers.

“Everyday Superheroes: Women in energy careers.”
Written by Erin Twamley, Joshua Sneideman, Katie Mehnert,
Illustration by Adua Hernandez

The book looks at non-traditional career paths and is geared toward children. It features 34 women in their career paths while describing their trade.

You can find out more about it here