For many students, taking our Entry Level program is the first step in a new career. It can be a daunting prospect to start looking for work when you have no experience and every job posting you see seems to ask for five years plus. We had the opportunity recently to catch up with an ex-student, Lacey, and find out how things had worked out for her.
Lacey became interested in welding after watching a friend weld.
“It looked cool, so I gave it a go” Lacey explained.
That initial tryout led to her taking Welding Basic and Tig welding at Durham College and later the Entry Level Multi Process Welder Program at Canadian Welding Skills.
“It was one of the best decisions I could have made to get into this industry”
She passed the program with honours and left school with three CWB tickets and a pile of confidence.
But, finding that first job took some time and she had to return to her old (non welding) job while looking. Eventually she decided she had to move out of her home town and towards the outskirts of the GTA to get started. This turned out to be a great idea because within a couple of days of moving she landed her first welding job at Global Emissions, Whitby where she stayed for three years.
Global Emissions specializes in the production of catalytic converters. Before getting the job “I had never done stainless steel at all” she says. She admits that when she went for the weld test she was asked to do a tack on the rotisserie and “got lucky, it just worked!” However, she does not believe her lack of experience with the material was really an issue at all. She knows she demonstrated good Tig skills and, at the end of the day, “they wanted to train me their way”.
A typical workday included polishing parts, setting up equipment and welding cones onto the body of the catalytic converter. Approximately 75% of the time was straight production and 25% was devoted to custom work. As she became more experienced she took on more and more responsibility, until eventually she was doing up to 95% of all welding in the shop
Lacey enjoyed the job because ” I got to Tig weld a lot, my most favorite thing in the whole world” and also custom fitting because ” it is a rewarding feeling to say “I did that!” “
The worst part was getting burnt…
” I know it is part of the job but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to a spark landing on bare skin!”
Lacey also notes that attitudes towards female welders can be discouraging. Even though she has been welding for a few years now people are always surprised when she tells them she is a welder. She even had a job interview where she was told “Your welds are amazing” (by the supervisor performing the weld test) but didn’t actually get the job because, it turned out, the company wasn’t willing to hire a female. This attitude makes her more determined than ever and she says to other girls considering welding “Don’t let anyone make you think you can’t do it. You have to push, nobody’s going to push for you.”
Looking back over her first three years as a welder Lacey is enthusiastic about her career choice.
“How many people can say that they love what they do every day? I can, and I know I want to keep on doing it for the rest of my career”
Now that she has experience under her belt she feels confident in the future and is looking forward to moving on to new roles. She knows she is in the right place with lots of opportunities in the GTA, and with her combination of training and experience she now has choices in where to go with her life!
Way to go Lacey! Everyone here at Canadian Welding Skills congratulates you on your career so far and wishes you all the best for the future!!