Renee Roy is a busy young mother but that isn’t stopping her from realizing her dream of becoming a welder.
“Since I was a little girl, I’d play around in my grandfather’s welding shop. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do,” says Renee.
Renee is one of 14 First Nations students who are enrolled in an Akerley Campus certified welding class funded by the Native Council of Nova Scotia (NCNS). Her classmates range in age from 18 to 45, but as class instructor Neil DeBaie explains, they share a common goal.
“They want to do better in life and see a real need for skilled tradespeople.”
Renee plans to use her skills in the renewable energy field. “At the end of the day, I want my work to contribute to a cleaner, greener planet for my children to grow up in.”
As a busy mom, juggling school can be stressful, but she says her “great classmates” and “great instructors” make it easier.
Alex Viscount, 21, is one of those classmates. Like Renee, Alex says he owes much of his success to the supportive learning environment. “When I was struggling, my classmates along with my instructor, Neil, helped keep me on track. He’s awesome.”
Neil says his job isn’t just about teaching welding. “It’s also about encouraging self-awareness and self-worth in order to succeed.”
Alex hopes his training leads to a career in underwater welding. “I was called a fish when I was little because I loved the water so much. I am hoping my future might combine that passion with my work.”
Amanda Curtis, Driving Towards Industry Service Standards Project Coordinator with the NCNS, says the partnership with NSCC has been a huge success. "It put our clients at the top of a demand-driven industry opportunity."
Both Renee and Alex are looking forward to entering the workforce.
“When I heard about the course, I thought it would be a good career choice,” says Alex. “Now I love it!”