Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Camaria Spalding: bringing light and power

Published:Monday | March 6, 2017 | 3:00 AMTickoya Joseph
JPS Camaria Spalding on the job.
JPS Camaria Spalding on the job.
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Let there be light!

Beaming with pride Camaria Spalding told the Flair of the warmth and sense of accomplishment she feels every time she helps a customer. The only female line woman currently employed to the Jamaica Public Service is tasked with erecting poles, string and tension power lines, replace defective transformers and streetlights as well as responding to emergency calls. Not the typical lipstick and heels, Spalding gets dressed in her jeans, boots and hard hat and takes on a role she is very passionate about.

"I like to challenge myself. I like the feeling I get when I finish a hard task."

Spalding was quite amused when her fifth form group visited the Rockforth Power Station. "I decided then and there that I wanted to do electrical installation." Her father and aunt were quite supportive of her new dream but grandma was a bit hesitant. "She is afraid that I will get shocked." She chuckled.

In a society where any task that seemed dangerous would be dubbed as a 'mans' job many were concerned with the path that she decided to take. She was not daunted by the concerns, criticisms or the challenges. Instead, enthused by the fact that she was going in a male dominated field, Spalding always strived to do her best as this was the only way she would make her mark. She was the only female in her class at the Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART) Trust and was still the only female as she moved on to the Vocational training Development Institute(VTDI) and even the Jamaica Public Service Company Training school.

Errol Stewart, Lead Man, responsible for Spalding's team is very supportive of his lone female line woman. "She is very energetic and enthusiastic." With a stern look on his face, Stewart made it clear that that he treats her as he does any other member of the team. "I do not treat her with soft hands." Other members of her team spoke of her willingness to get the job done no matter the circumstances. She is not afraid to get her hands dirty or climb the poles to ensure that customers have that precious resource. Though she is treated as an equal member of the team, she admits that the guys are very protective of her and that they get very vocal when she is approached by especially a male admirer.

Though she has been doing this for four years, Spalding is still surprised at the looks of amusement she gets every time she turns up with her team. She spoke of an incident where woman asked her if her mother actually knew what she did.

Spalding is not oblivious to the fact that her job is in fact dangerous. However, strapping on her belt and putting on the safety boots, empowers her. She spoke of the sense of accomplishment that comes with putting on a smile on a customer's face. The sense of service is very important to Spalding, so much so that she doesn't have to be directly involved in the process, she just wants the job to be done. She explained that there are times when persons will see her and just make a complaint, which she documents and reports and when she happens to pass by the area again she is greeted with outstretched arms and smiles saying "dem fix it inuh." Making it all worthwhile.

Spalding says a desk job is definitely for her. Currently, her job is working with 'dead' lines. She is hopeful that one day she will work on live wires which will be more heart rending for her grandmother but a more enriching experience for her. As she climbs to the highest level, Spalding is hoping that other females will be inspired to join her in her field.