Alicia the Welder

#WomenofSteel Interview with Alicia Butty

Alicia the Welder

As a woman in the trades, have you ever faced discrimination?

Fortunately, the company that I work for does not tolerate any form of discrimination. However, social media is a different story; I’ve had many occasions where people have made derogatory remarks towards me because I’m a woman in a male-dominated industry. But I’ve never let these negative remarks affect my attitude towards my profession because my overall experience has been relatively positive.

Do you find that employers are becoming more open to hiring women as time goes on?

The field of welding is becoming more diverse. Hiring competent peopleis the priority; Not gender. Overall, more training for women is needed, but the industry is taking steps in the right directions evidenced by more women entering the trades.

What would your message be to women going into the trades?

In general, welding can be challenging as a trade for anyone regardless of gender. One has to be clear in their goals to deal with some of the infrequent but negative comments. The work has some occupational hazards and can sometimes

be dangerous. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t trade being in the welding industry for any other job. Rewards outweigh the negatives.

Are you working on a passion project at the moment? If yes, tell us a little bit about it.

Yes, currently I am collaborating with interior designers, creating one-of-a-kind metal sculptures. To date, I have designed and fabricated tables, fire rings, event decor, wall art and commercial signs. One of my most recent endeavours was a large pair of metal wings, which is currently displayed in a storefront window, in Cabbage Town, Toronto. It’s a fresh change of pace from my daily manufacturing job. Welding allows me to express myself creatively.

How did you first get involved with the industry?

I was inspired by my family’s custom manufacturing business, Butty Manufacturing. My grandfather immigrated from Hungary in 1956 and established a small ornamental iron shop. My father and uncle expanded the business into customized engineered machinery. Growing up, I witnessed many of the projects that they produced.When it came time to look for a career, I was already familiar with the process and the whole working environment.

What education program did you attend?

After graduating from high school, I felt pressure from my family and society to go to university. I was uncertain as to which field to pursue. I ended up in communications, which has benefited me but was not my passion. After two years, I knew I that I wanted a career in welding and enrolled in the Mohawk College Welding program.

What has been one of your best memories/experiences while working in the industry?

One of my happiest moment was when my metal art was displayed in the storefront window of an interior design shop in Toronto. It gave me a great sense of accomplishment to see my artwork displayed and appreciated by others. I also am happy to see structurally well-built joists from my company installed throughout the country.

What is your favourite thing about working in the industry?

The financial compensation for being employed in this industry is quiterewarding. Currently, there is a high demand for skilled workers. Due to a shortage of welders, opportunities in welding have reached an all-time high.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself.

Surprisingly, even though I am working in an established male-dominated field,I remain very much in touch with my feminine side, which I express with the fun I have with fashion, makeup and style.

 

Alicia Butty, CWB Welder, Inspector Level 1 of Ancaster, Ontario. Working currently as an inspector in the industry. Also, working as a Metal Design Artist since 2008. Successful social media influencer currently with 30 thousand followers (@canadian_welder_girl).