All of our students have their own unique journey, and many of them follow different paths before they come through the doors of Ready Arc’s shop. Kelsey’s journey here wasn’t easy – it was long and winding with several twists and turns…but with a ton of grit and determination, she joined our program, put her mind to it, and worked her way to graduation day.
What were you up to before you came here?
I guess you could say I was floating through life. I started tattooing at 17 and worked as a tattoo artist for a while, didn’t finish high school and worked in aquaculture for a bit.
Why welding and why Ready Arc?
I just knew getting into the trades was the way to go – to earn a sustainable, decent living. It was intimidating, especially not coming from a trade family. I didn’t even know how to get my foot in the door. I had an opportunity to try TIG welding, and I really liked it. Then a fellow from a local union asked if I wanted to try welding, see if I liked it. They saw potential – and suggested that I come here. I said to an apprenticeship coordinator that I don’t have the time or money to waste, I have 2 kids – do I seem like a good fit? He said the only thing standing in my way – was me. That day, they brought me to Ready Arc. I liked that the course was a fast track to tickets and that it was really intensified – no room to take my foot off the gas. Everyone genuinely cares about each student who walks through these doors. They want you to succeed. This course gave me a thorough education, and I feel comfortable walking onto the job. I have a lot to learn still, but I feel like I have a solid foundation to go out and prove myself and build on.
You made it to graduation day! What’s next?
Hopefully getting into a union and apprenticeship. The biggest thing for me was showing my kids that, against all odds and all the cards we’ve been dealt, that we could do this together as a family.
How do you feel being a woman in the trades?
It may get me in the door, but it’s not going to make me successful. I feel that women have their place in the trades, and that we might not have all the same qualities men do, but we bring other unique qualities. I think that when you join both genders together, you get the ideal workforce.