Feature Story: Jackie Lundman, Woman Welder

In the middle of a hot august afternoon Jackie and I sit back in the cafeteria of the trade’s school she currently teaches at, to talk about how she got into welding.

“Mum told me to take the trades course, so I did what I was told. She knew what my strong suits were I was always in the garage with my Dad working on vehicles and I did a lot of sports in high school”

So your Mum and Dad encouraged you along the way?

“Yeah my Mum does a trade she is a quilter, a perfectionist and creative in assembling and putting textiles together.”

You studied for 3 years and completed up to level ‘A’ at trades school?

“I am fortunate to have had Instructors at BCIT who are women who have blazed the trail before me. What I really get out of welding is that it empowers you as a young person, for me right out of high school; I was quiet and shy but not anymore.

When I began to use hand tools and power tools with confidence I felt, ‘I can do it too’. The most powerful thing about is, it changes you as a person, and it builds a person up.  A deep satisfaction comes with the physical challenge and the sense of accomplishment of seeing your work, what you have made. I find the physical challenge is fun!”

What kind of opposition and challenges have you encountered along the way they maybe haven’t been as fun?

“I’ve lived the reality of coming up against barriers in the workplace, where I’ve applied for a job and not gotten it because I’m a woman. If you going to work in this trade you have to accept it is going to be gruff.

You will meet colorful characters, which are all part of the culture of working in the trades, as women we are working in a man’s field. You may encounter old school traditional attitudes about women and the kind of work they ‘should’ and ‘should not’ be doing.

Yet I have found that if you want to, you can be yourself and you don’t have to be anyone else.  So you go in with your eyes open and with an attitude that you can do it when you put your mind and body in it. Of course there is danger of working with the equipment”

What job have you really liked in your 13 years as a welder?

“Believe it or not the Shipyards!  I loved being outside in the open air feeling the elements while stepping up to the challenge and variety of a job everyday. I also have done repair work in different environments”

Where do you see yourself going from here?

“Teaching. Passing on knowledge, it is natural for to me to help people accomplish the task at hand and I always thought I would like to be an Instructor later on in my career. All of a sudden it’s later on and here I am!”

What kinds of activities do you enjoy when you are not working at welding?

“I love Hockey and I just received my firearms license! I go to the shooting range with a buddy that I worked with. He asked me to try it so I did.  I was raised on venison, I use to go hunting with my Dad and I remember when I was 14 years old I shot my first duck and that thanksgiving we had pheasant, duck and quail!

I like power I like the thrill of doing things that are different, doing things I’ve always just naturally felt to do”

Is there anything else you would like to add?

“Choose a trade that you want to do day in and out, eventually the novelty wears out. Don’t be afraid to give it a try, pretend you’re on Canadian Idol just keep with it and stick to it, practice over and over again.

Some environments can be unhealthy or toxic and I don’t mean just the fumes! Discover whether it is the trade or the environment and determine if it’s time to move on.

Yep, it is really hard to be a women in a man’s environment but don’t get down, show up Monday to Friday on time and go beyond what is required to show that you are keen and willing to work smart and physically hard at the same time”

Finishing her Friday afternoon refreshment with me, Jackie hurried along while I marveled at her enthusiasm and energy for the trade.

I shuffled my notes on welding and continued to imagine myself doing the work in the not too distant future! ~Freyja-Frigg

3 Comments

  1. Yeah! women welders rock!! I hope you don’t mind, I’m going to post a link over on my site… in a couple days (I just posted my own latest profile of a woman welder!)

    • Thanks for letting me know, yes they do happen to rock! ~ Freja Frigg

  2. Nice, Great chating with you and cain’t wait till we can start welding again. Hope to see you soon


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