Changing Gears

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Image of woman in welding helmet, overalls, and welding gloves, cleaning a piece of metal with a wire brush.

Meet Austin.  Austin grew up in the Vancouver area and was working as an early childhood educator with special needs (primarily autistic) children when her best friend, Shelby, suggested she move from Haida Gwaii to the Kootenays with her to learn to weld.  Up for a change, Austin agreed.

Though it meant leaving family, her career and her work as a volunteer fire fighter, it’s a decision she’s happy she made.  She’s loving the program and has found that she likes to get her hands dirty.  She’s not great at math, but she’s learning and confident she’ll succeed.

When she finishes her C-level training, she plans to find work in the field before returning to school.  She plans to work her way through to her Red Seal ticket.  It is important to Austin to make her own way in the world and not have to rely on anyone else.

She sees lots of opportunities in the welding field including fabricating, inspecting and more and would encourage other women to consider a career in welding.  She acknowledges it takes a backbone to work in the trades but feels it can be very empowering for women to succeed in a male-dominated field.

Now that she’s in the Kootenay’s, she doesn’t want to leave.  She loves living in a small town and the lifestyle opportunities available here, including some great fishing.  She hopes to make Kimberley her home-base, even if she travels for work in different locations.

We wish you all the best, Austin.  We think you’re going to do great, no matter where you end up.