Woman of Steel participant welding a T joint in the horizontal position using the Shielded Metal Arc welding process.

Last year I completed my first year in the St. Lawrence College welding and fabrication program. The last semester has provided many interesting challenges and I look forward to the second year.

I am one of many mature students at this school and attending St. Lawrence College has allowed me the opportunity to pursue my second career in the shop and in an alternate delivery. I have found the information provided by the CWB a good reference and I was interested in the opportunities for education and awards as I am new to welding.

Surprisingly, the thing that led me to choose welding was this pandemic. I had enjoyed my career as a freelance lighting technician in Toronto, however, I was unable to continue when we entered lockdown.

I realized the right thing to do was to consider a second career I could pursue while in lockdown. I researched careers that were essential, hands-on and something I could study in the next couple of years for my second career. I applied to college within the week and chose Welding at St. Lawrence. I am glad I chose welding because I have enjoyed my first year in this program, learning basic welding, blueprints, and theory and I am eager to continue in the field and in my second year.

Before St. Lawrence, I achieved an advanced diploma in Technical Production for Theatre and Live Events. This included various practical classes in mediums such as carpentry, prop construction, soldering, lighting, and production management. In my final year, I completed a field placement at Christie Lites (a major lighting rental shop in Toronto) and was hired for the electronics department after grad. I worked at that job for a year, taking on more as I went, and then left to pursue a career as a freelance lighting tech. Christie Lites hired me for their prep crew right away. I also worked for other major productions such as Veld, CBC, IATSE Local 58 and the MTCC Auto Show. While I could not continue in that industry due to the lack of opportunities in the post-pandemic world, I have realized what I liked about that career was the process of constructing something in a shop and building it on site. With my current studies and previous experience, I can continue that in a new, essential medium. In short, my academic achievements include a 3.7 average from Sheridan and a 3.0 at St. Lawrence.

Previously, I have been the recipient of the Set Aside Fund Bursary (2020), the Sheridan Varsity Athletic Award and the Sheridan Varsity Letter Award. I intended to pursue varsity athletics at St. Lawrence, however, that was not an option due to the covid restrictions, therefore I joined a local hockey team in the Cornwall Community. Though our season was cut short due to more covid restrictions, my team achieved 4th place in our division. Currently, I am up for the VP of Student Life Position at the SLC student union, and I also work at the Parks of St. Lawrence. I have also won SLC student union Trivia night and the Nomads Rugby Club Talent Show.

After my graduation, in April 2023, my goal is to get my CWB welding ticket and pursue a career as a welder. Ideally, an IATSE 873 welder. I have been an IATSE 58 permittee for 2 years now and I understand IATSE 873 is currently looking for welders to build film sets due to the demand for content in the Canadian film industry. I have also considered the pipe welders union and the boilermakers union, at the recommendation of my teachers.

As I understand it, Hugh Krentz had a passion for the use of construction standards, which made a big contribution to the safety standards at the time. In production, I was taught that “safety laws are written in blood” and I understand that progress towards public safety often comes from within the departments and requires education and pressure from those in the industry. Through my own research, I have realized the importance of standards and safety policies to enforce best practices in welding shops and public job sites which reduce risks and errors.

In conclusion, the Hugh Krentz Student Award has allowed me to build on my previous work experience and my current welding studies while continuing a legacy of safe practices in welding. With this scholarship, I will continue my studies and pursue my chosen career after graduation on a safety-oriented job site mandated by the Canadian Welding Bureau. I applied for this award under the recommendation of supervisors in the welding industry and, by following their tutelage, I have been able to build my skillset with the construction information now in the public domain because of the efforts of apprenticeship-style programs and educators.