Being a woman in a male-dominated industry
Interview with Tania Flink, an expert welding instructor at Swift Skills Academy
How long have you been in the welding industry?
My welding career started at John Thompson in 2013 as a welding apprentice. In 2017 I qualified for my trade test at Northlink CT and passed my trade test. After my apprenticeship contract ended at John Thompson, I started at Tank Clinic as a welder. In June 2018 my journey as a welding facilitator started at Swift.
Welding was not my first choice. After struggling to get a workplace so that I can finish my fitting and turning work-based experience in order to qualify as a fitter and turner, I gave up on that and searched for other options. I applied for a welding apprenticeship at John Thompson, there my welding journey started. I started to love what I do and I developed a passion for welding.
What do you most enjoy about teaching welding?
Though I enjoy welding, I really feel I utilize my skills, knowledge and experience to a greater degree when I am teaching. The most satisfaction is obtained when a student overcomes some welding related challenges.
What was your hardest welding challenge?
I always felt I had to prove myself to others, work twice as hard and never give up, so that they would not underestimate my capabilities as a woman in this trade.
Do you think there is a big difference between women doing welding and men doing welding?
No not at all! Even though most males still do not like or want women in this trade, many are seeing that women can [take ownership of their roles]. It is physically and emotionally challenging being a female welder, your body and mind needs to be strong to overcome these challenges in the workplace and/or industry.