Putting people at the core of everything we do is paramount at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. We are committed to ensuring our people — those who make BCIT distinct, are developing while feeling valued, supported, and connected.
BCIT is a people-first organization. We aim to celebrate our employees by sharing their stories through the Our People series. The series features BCIT’s extraordinary employees who share a strong sense of pride and ambition for the Institute and make up our diverse community.
Get to know Anna Lary, M.Ed., Master Electrician, and Instructor in the School of Construction and the Environment (SOCE) who has been working at BCIT for over 10 years.
How would you summarize the work that you do at the Institute in 15 words or less?
I am an educator engaged in creating resilient, competent trades workers ready to participate in a diversifying.
What has been your most memorable moment working at BCIT?
On November 24, 2023, I hosted and coordinated the first ever Equity in Electrical networking event. Working with the tremendous support of my managers at SOCE, the BCIT Alumni Association and the British Columbia Centre for Women In Trades and Technology (BCCWITT), we created an inclusive, welcoming, and learning focused environment for the 45 women and gender diverse electricians in attendance, as well as other industry representatives from BC Hydro, SkilledTrades BC, and BCCWITT.
Among this group of women and gender diverse electricians were four contractors, control electricians, industrial electricians, commercial and residential electricians, street lighting and traffic signal electricians, film industry electricians, instructors, and more. These are people who have survived and thrived in a challenging and intensely gender-segregated industry. Women and gender diverse individuals in building trades make up less than 10% and perhaps closer to 5% of participants. An industry specific event like this showcases the talent, determination, and resilience of these individuals. It also provides a balm to the intense isolation and inequity that so many of them face on job sites.
Learn about Electrical Trades training available at BCIT.
What do you enjoy the most about working in post-secondary education?
I really enjoy the diversity of experience and knowledge in my classrooms and on campus. There are so many different types of work that my students are doing—while there are common elements, electrical work encompasses a huge range of jobsites and work environments. There is continual evolution in terms of installation methods and the use of technology. It takes years of practice and experience to become a competent electrician and continual refinement to stay current in the field. I am passionate about electrical work and the theory behind the practice.
I also enjoy being part of the BCIT community and learning about the many innovative projects that are underway. While I very much like learning about the technical details of the building envelopes of net-zero builds or the latest wind turbine technology, I like the feeling of belonging to an activated and empowered organization more. At BCIT, we have the opportunity to do work to address climate change, decarbonize the economy, support the work of reconciliation and address other societal inequities. The practical nature of the work that we do has tremendous potential for profound and positive impacts.
Do you have a favourite spot on the BCIT campuses that you enjoy spending your time at and why?
I love having a coffee in the courtyard at the Rix (on the Burnaby Campus). The water feature and the little garden give me a welcome snippet of the natural world.
What are projects or initiatives that you have completed at the Institute that you are proud of?
1. Worked as a subject matter expert on a federally funded initiative to address the recruitment and retention of women in three identified trades: Piping, electrical work, and carpentry.
- As part of this working group, I helped write curriculum to support positive and inclusive trades classrooms.
- This curricular content will be made available on the BCIT Employee Learning Hub in January 2024.
2. Supported and did recruitment for five intakes of the with funding from PacifiCan and Johnson Controls:
- Eight out of 16 students in each intake were women or gender diverse individuals;
- supported my wonderful colleagues in creating these positive and inclusive learning spaces and experiences.
3. Participated in a national working group creating a tool for the recruitment and retention of equity-deserving apprentices.
4. Participated in a national working group creating a mentorship program for women and gender diverse trade workers (ongoing).
Share with us how what you are passionate about outside of work. Do you have any hobbies?
I have been practising yoga since I was a teenager. This is a practice that has supported me in every way. It kept me limber and mostly injury free while I was working in the field as an electrician and now in my work as an educator and professional it helps me maintain a sense of equilibrium and perspective. In fact, being upside down in a handstand literally shifts my perspective!
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