Sparks fly: welding grad makes her way through a ‘man’s world’ | Assiniboine Community College
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Sparks fly: welding grad makes her way through a ‘man’s world’

Sparks fly: welding grad makes her way through a ‘man’s world’

Written On: 08 September, 2018
Category: Alumni North Hill Campus Student Spotlight Trades
Related programs:  Welder

Through an unconventional post-secondary journey, Pam Carlson breaks down barriers with artistic flair.

After Pam Carlson graduated from high school, she pursued further education and attended university. After completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Brandon, MB, she went on to earn her Master of Contemporary Art History degree in Toronto.

A couple of years out of university, Carlson was having challenges finding work in her field through the traditional path that someone with her education might take. It was then that someone suggested she learn a skilled trade.

She came to Assiniboine and graduated this past June with her Level 1 pre-employment Welding diploma, a program with classes typically attended by males.

“Yes, it was extremely difficult for me,” says Carlson. “Entering a male-dominated industry as a woman is challenging and unfortunately my gender played a significant role.”

Carlson didn’t let the gender imbalance sway her though. Upon graduating from the program, she started work as an industrial welder with Gabler Welding, where she is still currently working.

“One of the wonderful things about my job is that no two days are the same,” she says. “There is so much variety that I get experience doing a little bit of everything.”

With no previous experience prior to her training in the Welding program at Assiniboine, she is extremely proud of the hard work and determination she put in to get to this point—something she considers will always be a highlight in her career.

“For me, this is just the beginning of great things to come,” she adds. “My creative background drew me to welding. It’s artistic, detailed, challenging and requires an immense amount of skill which I found exciting!”

Aside from the fundamentals of welding, she says there were many various skills she learned throughout her time at Assiniboine.
“Learning how to weld, of course, and with that came a myriad of other skills. For example, I learned how to appropriately manage my time and work under pressure. I learned a lot from making mistakes.

“I really value good communication as well and my classmates and instructors were wonderful! I always felt like I could talk to them.”

She notes that some people have a clear direction of exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives and she often envied those people but was never one of them.

“I think people feel conflicted when it comes time to choose a career path because there is this pressure to choose just one thing,” she says. “People grow and evolve their whole lives, so don’t ever be afraid to change directions if your passion is pushing you somewhere else.

“Life is too short to be doing something you don’t love. If life is pulling you down a different path, then don’t be afraid to pursue that!”

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