I think if you work towards what you want to do, you can really do anything.
My name is Michelle Maye and I'm an aircraft lead appearance technician with Transport Canada.
I knew as a teenager that I wanted to do something in the maintenance field because I liked working with my hands.
So in high school, I wanted to be a car mechanic. And I was kind of discouraged from doing that because I was a female and I had a few people tell me that’s not really what females do and I wouldn't enjoy it.
So I didn't follow that path, but I kind of did. And I got into the transportation industry in the moving companies. So from there I was looking at the truck drivers who were my coworkers, and I was like, Man, that is so cool. I would love to drive one of those. And I thought to myself, I'm like, Well, why can't I?
The next thing you know, they hired me driving the trucks. And that kind of opened the next door to get my foot in the door in the aviation industry, driving fuel trucks, fueling private jets.
Being out on the tarmac for the first time around, you know, hands-on with these planes and towing them and hooking them up was so exciting for me. And I knew right then and there that this is my career for the rest of my life.
As a refueler, I was working with a bunch of different types of aircraft, making different contacts, and I ended up actually refueling the planes at this hangar. It peaked my interest into working with Transport Canada, seeing what the job consisted of, and I kind of got to see the action going on in the hangar from where I was out on the tarmac. So when there was a job opening lined up, I applied for it and went through the process and that's how I ended up coming here.
My duties change on a day-to-day basis. But for the most part, we're responsible for maintaining the appearance of the fleet of aircraft. We assist the aircraft maintenance engineers in some of their duties, also taking care of the hangar itself. So after I started working as a fleet appearance technician, I set another goal for myself and I decided I wanted to pursue being an aircraft maintenance engineer. And Transport Canada is actually starting a full-time apprenticeship program in the next few months to help people like me who are done college or done their correspondence course to come in and get the apprenticeship hours to become an AME.
There is a lot of opportunity in the industry and I don't think people are aware of that. My message to a younger female that was interested in getting into the aviation industry would be to, you know, don't give up on your goals. Don't listen to what negative things that people tell you and do what you want to do.