Apprentice, Parade Princess, and Future Youngest Female Journeyman
Most little girls dream of being a princess. Rachel Sobott, third-year apprentice at IECRM, has already been a princess, and now she dreams about becoming the youngest female journeyman in Colorado.
Some of our members know Rachel as the “Apprincess” riding atop IECRM’s Sparkling Ice Castle Float in the 9NEWS Parade of Lights in 2018. But it’s her day job that really inspires her. “My Dad was an electrician and about the time is was in middle school he made me his intern,” says Rachel. “At that young age, I learned two key things. First, turn the power off. Second, help him and learn. I knew then that this is what I wanted to do.”
Because Rachel knew what she wanted to be, she became an apprentice right after high school, entering the field at a younger age than many women who consider the trade after trying other paths. At this point, Rachel is on track with her on the job hours and apprenticeship training hours to potentially become the youngest female journeyman in Colorado when she graduates from IECRM in 2020. “That’s my goal, and I’m appreciative of my employer and IECRM for helping me reach it,” she says.
Rachel really loves being an apprentice. “I really enjoy working with my hands, and the class work at IECRM is providing me with a lot of opportunities,” she says. “Being a woman in a male-dominated field can be hard. You have to be really tough and not let anything get to you.” Rachel attributes the culture and support at Encore Electric and the benefits of training at IECRM for her ability to feel more like she has a level playing field on which to compete.
Rachel’s favorite job so far in her career as an apprentice has been the Translational Medical Institute (TMI) equine center built for CSU in Fort Collins. “Seeing all the animals was interesting,” she remembers. “I actually got to work in their pens and experienced being a cow herder for about two minutes.”
But what was more interesting and fun was working to help build the underground infrastructure of the building installing PVC conduits. “Luckily it was summer when the installation occurred making it much easier,” says Rachel.
Using an iPad and Bluebeam technology for most of the project, Rachel saw how technology is changing the way electrical contractors do their jobs. “Bluebeam allows us to design, review, modify, and collaborate on plans for projects,” she says. “Being able to view multiple layers of the structure and seeing where everything else was going to be installed was a far cry from those days when I was my Dad’s intern!”
Most successful work habits…
Many of Rachel’s most successful work habits she learned from working with her Dad. “He drilled in me being organized and keeping my area clean,” she remembers. “I quickly learned that being on time and paying attention to the details were vital to being taken seriously in this business.”
“Like so many other apprentices, my heroes have been my parents,” she says. “My Dad is a super hard worker and always made sure we had everything we needed to be successful.” Rachel’s Mom went to school while she and her brother were little and became a high school teacher. “Both of my parents are pretty great and support me totally in everything I do.”
Best advice for co-workers, apprentices and students…
Rachel says that she’s learned to keep trying, even if you don’t feel like it. “It’s so important to remember that hard work will get you a long way,” she adds. “The trades are the best thing to get into. With college so ridiculously expensive, a skill that you will always be able to use is something you will always have. It might be scary at first, but that ‘j-card’ is worth it!”
Rachel sees many women just starting out, who are single moms or can’t afford college. “Women need to start thinking about the trades,” she says. “Think about who it will benefit the most. It will benefit and empower them.”