Meet Ashley. A pioneering woman in mining!

By Susan Kihn

John Larsen is one proud husband! He tells us his wife, Ashley Larsen, is now a full-ticket Heavy Duty Mechanic at Copper Mountain mine in British Columbia, Canada.

He also tells us that she is the ONLY female Heavy Duty Mechanic (ticketed) that they are aware of in their collective experiences anywhere in British Columbia or Canada.

Here is some of Ashley's story as told by her husband John.

“Ashley and her husband moved to Princeton, BC after her husband finished the Mining and Mineral Exploration program at BCIT.

 She tried to find work in town, but hours were scarce and pay was low.  She had applied at the mine, but with no qualifications she didn’t have an edge.

 Then she decided to take matters into her own hands.  She enrolled at TRU in Kamloops for a pre-apprenticeship program.  The program required her to volunteer for work experience. 

 Relentlessly, she contacted Copper Mountain until they decided to give her a chance.  She demonstrated her drive, work ethic and hunger to learn, so as her work experience came to an end, the mine hired her as a shop labourer. 

 Ashley spent a hard year primarily hosing down haul trucks and heavy equipment outside on the wash pad.  Inside the shop, she performed any task that was asked of her from sweeping to pulling wrenches.  She put in the sweat and pounced on any chance to learn from the mechanics, always volunteering for the dirty tasks.  After about a year Copper Mountain’s apprenticeship program had room for two new candidates and she was awarded with one of them.

 Copper Mountain paid for her to attend trade school once per calendar year and in her personal life at this time, Ashley had just given birth to her daughter, Stella.  Her husband, Josh, took 3 months of parental leave so that Ashley could focus on her first of four stints at Okanagan College. 

 She was able to accelerate her education, by beginning her first year in the winter and then attending school every nine months.  This allowed her to achieving her goals in 3 years instead of 4 and she was among the top of her class at each level.  Her positive attitude, elbow grease and her respect for her teachers (at work and school) have made her instrumental to her team.  She’s got the grit for a promising future in mining.”

 Well done Ashley! What an inspiration you are for us gals..