Nikki Spracklin might be new to the carpentry trade, but this Newfoundlander is coming out swinging, co-starring in the new HGTV series Rock Solid Builds, shot right here on ‘The Rock’
Watch North River’s Nikki Spracklin make her way through her day and a few things stand out. One? She’s got her hands full with her kids, Briella, nine, and Brayden, seven. With a husband working away, it’s easy to understand why Spracklin decided to be a stay at home mom for a few years. But all that’s changed now, and Spracklin made her way into the carpentry trade in her mid 30s. And now? Look at her go! Co-starring alongside her work family on HGTV’s Rock Solid Builds.
‘A pure blast’
What’s that been like? We ask? “A pure blast,” she says with a laugh.
Rock Solid Builds takes viewers to Brigus and beyond where third-generation builder Randy Spracklin and his team battle our island’s rugged terrain and wickedly harsh weather to execute some historic renos along with a few jaw-dropping new builds.
Set against breathtaking views of ‘The Rock,’ the show’s promotional material says “it’s a year-round labour of love as these proud islanders do whatever it takes to get the job done. There are plenty of laughs and pranks along the way.”
When Spracklin first heard, mere months into her journey into the trades, that a television production crew would be joining them, she thought it was yet another practical joke. “I said we’ll go with the flow. See what comes of it. Randy must be joking. We’ll play along. And here we are very close to it airing on television,” she said.
What has having cameras around been like? Very natural, she responds.
“Absolutely what you see is what we are. We are very laid back, we have fun every day, that’s the way we are. We make the best of every day that we can. Everybody likes to play a prank on each other and we keep the jokes flowing while still getting the job done,” she says.
Women in the trades
Spracklin is proud of the work her team has been doing, saying “we’ve done some incredibly things and we’re proud to show all that off.” She’s also a proud Newfoundlander, adding, “Having the opportunity to not only show the work we do, but the place we live in, has been incredible. It’s nice to show the rest of Canada and the world how beautiful Newfoundland really is,” she said.
Another thing she’s proud of is being a woman in the trades.
“I was a stay at home mother since I’ve had my daughter and I was getting to feel like I needed a social life, I needed to talk to adults. My husband worked away all the time so it was just me and my daughter and I live far away from my family. I worked my whole life … I needed to be out and about.”
Spracklin took a leap of faith and “just did it,” reaching out to those in the know.
A leap of faith
The Office to Advance Women Apprentices works to increase employment opportunities for women in the skilled trades by providing career services, employment supports, networking opportunities and ongoing supports to advance women throughout their apprenticeship in the underrepresented skilled trades. They had the know how.
“The Office was a strong support for Nikki in choosing her career path, assisting her with finding employment in her trade. We are so proud of her accomplishments and the example she is setting for other women considering a trades career. Nikki and many other women out there are changing the culture of construction as we know it today,” said Karen Walsh, Executive Director.
The support was appreciated, but then help came from many places.
“I’ve enjoyed this every step of the way. The classes. The work. I enjoy seeing projects all coming together.”
Randy Spracklin was a life-long friend and he took her under his wing.
“He went out on a limb with me and took me under his wing. And I’ve been here ever since.”
The best part about what she does for a living is the opportunities, she shared.
‘we try everything’
“The amount of learning and experience I’m receiving every day. Nothing we do is ever simple. From brand new builds to renovations, it’s amazing. Keep watching the show because you’ll get to see that we try everything. There’s no repetition. And I love that.” Any advice for anyone wanting to make the leap into the trades? Women or otherwise?
“I think it’s for everybody, and I think women entering the trades is amazing. I’m treated no different for being a woman … Our crew is amazing. They don’t give me any special treatment. If they’re doing it, I’m doing it. And that’s the best way to learn no matter what you do.”
Rock Solid Builds premieres Thursday Feb. 18. For more information visit: hgtv.ca/shows/rock-solid-builds