Success Stories



Meet Alayna

Alayna has never looked back since completing the JWS training at WBF. Alayna was looking for a job where she could make a better wage and where she could work hours that matched the hours that daycare is open. Alayna liked working on her own and building things; welding seemed to fit the bill.

Today Alayna is a Journeyman Welder. She has completed all her schooling and work hours. She has worked at the same shop since she started the program and really enjoys her job. "When I pick my daughter up at the end of the day, I feel good."



Meet Cheryl

What does a low paying job with poor hours and little appreciation have to do with Cheryl? Nothing, anymore!

Cheryl considers WBF her "golden stepping stone" to a better life. She knew she had to get out of the job she was in, and wanted to pursue a career in the trades but just wasn't quite sure how to go about it. A visit to WBF put her on track through the Career Decision-Making Workshop. It was during the Workshop that tests revealed what Cheryl knew all along – she just wasn't suited to the job she had been doing. She moved towards a career as a plumber, and she was set! "Journeywoman Start was a good foundation and it gave me the confidence to get out there and get into the trades," says Cheryl. She also took strength from the other women in the program as "it was easier to go out looking for work with the other women than on my own."

Today Cheryl is in first year plumbing. She has more confidence and self-esteem than before and she’s happy with her choices. "I can hold my head high now and I feel stronger as a person."

Congratulations Cheryl. Great trade!



Meet Cindy

Cindy traded in a retail supervisor job with grueling hours to be an apprentice Recreational Vehicle technician. Robin Williams sure could have used her on his road trip!

Cindy saw some bus ads for WBF and called for information. Soon she was in the JWS program, with an eye to be a cabinetmaker. Cindy was also interested in various other trades and when she heard about the RV Technician route, where you learn multiple trades, Cindy knew that was for her. "What I love about this job is that one minute I'm plumbing, next some electrical work and next I’m fixing a roof! It's great."

Today Cindy is finishing her first year of working hours and plans to go to school in the fall. This is the first time the RV technician courses have been offered in Edmonton, and Cindy is looking forward to learning even more about her trade.

For Cindy it was the right decision to contact WBF and start the JWS program. Instead of working long hours, evenings and weekends, taking inventory and making schedules, Cindy is fixing water lines, laying flooring and repairing appliances. And she has time to do the things she enjoys in the evenings and on weekends.

"A great side benefit, is that I can apply all my skills to my own home," said Cindy, a home owner herself.



Meet Connie

Connie has built a new life for herself – literally!

Facing a tough situation, Connie ditched her career as a grill cook at the golden arches and came up with a plan that would provide her with a rewarding career to take her towards retirement. Connie came to WBF with the idea of becoming an apprentice carpenter – she is very creative and good with tools.

Today Connie has completed the Journeywoman Start program and is a registered apprentice. Connie can be found demolishing and renovating the Grey Nuns Hospital. She also monitors the job site safety program. In three months time Connie will be indentured as a carpenter’s apprentice.

Connie has more than doubled her wages already. WBF was the right decision to help Connie change her life for the better.

Way to go Connie!



Meet Darlene

Darlene learned about WBF from her family counselor. A mother of 5, Darlene was looking to build a better future for her family.

"I loved working with tools when I was in high school, but 20 years ago women just didn’t go into the trades," remembers Darlene. "I was so excited when I heard about this program; and so nervous I wouldn’t be chosen from the over 100 applicants."

But she was chosen, and today Darlene is working on her second year apprentice welding hours and heading to school. After 13 months on the job Darlene loves waking up and going to work everyday.

"My son wrote a paper for school about his Mom being a welder," says Darlene about her 10 year old. "He’s pretty proud."

Does it get any better than that?



Meet Emily

Emily made the jump from food service to instrumentation. She responded to a radio ad for WBF, liked what she saw, and went through the process.

A hands-on learner, Emily loved the structure of the Journeywoman Start program. Being able to handle the tools and hear about the industry through first-hand speakers really made the opportunities come alive to Emily.

Today Emily is selling her condo to buy a house. She can tear down and rebuild valves and is learning other skills on the job. "I smile all day when a control valve I built passes all the testing!"


Meet Erin

Erin came to be an apprentice welder by way of university, college and golf course maintenance! Having tried several different things, Erin decided she was happiest doing physical labor, but being a laborer didn't have a future, so Erin decided apprenticeship was for her.

When Erin started at WBF in the Journeywoman Start program, she thought she wanted to be a carpenter, but it turns out that she loved the welding component. Being exposed to the various trades was the best thing about JWS for Erin. It was this exposure, and the shop tours, that hooked her on pursuing welding as a career.

Another thing that Erin credits WBF with is providing relevant math and science training. She has used a lot of those concepts on the job already, and without the review it would have been much harder.

Today Erin has challenged the first year exam, she’s making $5 an hour more than last year, and when she's done her wages will have more than doubled. The best thing for Erin though is the sense of accomplishment she feels at the end of each day. "It's hard work, but I learn something new everyday."



Meet Jamie

Jamie saw a bus ad for WBF and decided there was more to life than serving and cleaning up after other people! Trading in the bad hours and low pay, Jamie started her carpentry apprenticeship by working on the WBF building for Clark Builders.

Jamie is very proud to be worked on the retrofit of the WBF building. She helped build the facility where she got her start!

Jamie credits the Journeywoman Start program with giving her the skills she needed to succeed on the job. "I thought it was going to be scarier than it was," says Jamie of her first days on the job. "I can see what I’ve accomplished at the end of every day."



Meet Jenn

Jenn knew from the beginning that she wanted to be a Pipefitter.

The hands-on experience gained through the Journeywoman Start program gave Jenn the confidence she needed to be successful on the job. Always positive and motivated, Jenn operates under her own personal philosophy that says "if you can dream it, you can achieve it." She had the dream to be a pipefitter and she is well on her way to achieving it.

Today Jenn is in her second year as an apprentice pipefitter. She has bought a new truck and a house. And she still wakes up everyday, thrilled to go to work.



Meet Jessica

Not that long ago Jessica was a waitress, taking people's orders. Now she is a first year indentured apprentice in the carpentry trade. Jessica is working as part of a construction team on the Royal Alexandra renovation project, and she is also involved in monitoring safety procedures on the job site.

Jessica says that without WBF she wouldn’t have been able to get a job in the trades. She loved working with all the tools and learning new things, during the Journeywoman Start program, that she could put to work on the job.

Jessica's whole family works in the trades. Her brother, an ironworker, told her to "go for it" and bought her first pair of coveralls for her!

Does Jessica miss being a waitress? "No way! Not only are the hours and the wages better, but I love my job now."



Meet Karen

Although Karen was interested in a career in the trades for a long time, she found that, as a woman, she wasn't taken seriously. At WBF however, things were different. Not only did WBF provide the skills and training needed for women to get a start in the trades, but WBF also provided the back up that was needed to help women get placed in jobs.

The thing Karen liked best about WBF was working with women who had a common goal to succeed. She is a firm believer that "you are in charge of your own destiny," and also believes that WBF can help women take that first step.

Today Karen is a second year apprentice electrician. "WBF has enabled me to make my way back up the food chain," says Karen. "I should have done this years ago."



Meet Kathleen

What do you call someone who can hammer with either hand? A great carpenter!

While her foreman might think she’s playing tricks on him, it's true that Kathleen can hammer equally well with either hand. That makes her a great apprentice carpenter!

Kathleen enjoys the fast paced, hands-on work involved in carpentry. She likes seeing the finished product and knowing that she contributed to the projects.

Kathleen credits WBF with preparing her to be successful on the job. "I was terrified my first day on the job site – yet I was prepared and successful."

Today Kathleen is half way through the apprentice carpenter program. She is financially more stable, more physically fit and very happy with her choice to pursue a career in the trades.


Meet Kelsie

Kelsie traded working the night shift at Home Depot for working the day shift as a plumber. What a great trade!

A bus ad got Kelsie thinking that a career in the trades might be the right thing for her. WBF and the Journeywoman Start program gave Kelsie the chance to experience all sorts of different trades, some of which she hadn’t even considered.

Today Kelsie is working on her third year as an apprentice plumber. "I love going to work everyday. I love to see a finished product and say that I did it!" She's making a good wage and still has money left over after paying for her expenses including her vehicle and insurance.



Meet Leslie

Leslie traded in selling toy building blocks at Toys R Us to building things of her own as an apprentice carpenter.

Leslie thought she'd like to be a carpenter and knew she didn't want to do the same thing day after day. So her new career in renovations is perfectly suited to her. Each job is new and different and allows her to continue to learn new skills as well as use skills touched on in the Journeywoman Start program.

"I've done framing, finishing, drywall, tiling, window and door installation and some plumbing and electrical." Leslie particularly likes being able to see a finished product at the end of each day.

From building blocks with her young daughter, to building real things each day, WBF was the right decision for Leslie. "I don't think I'd be where I am today if it wasn't for WBF."



Meet Melissa

As a project manager at Home Depot, Melissa was tired of the stress and frustration that went along with scheduling and rescheduling customer installs. She was looking for a lower stress, but rewarding job when her Mom heard an ad about WBF.

"It was meant to be," said Melissa. "The Journeywoman Start program almost over-prepared me for my first day on the job, and that's a good thing."

Today Melissa is an indentured carpenter's apprentice, working on the University of Alberta Hospital job site. She is particularly proud of this assignment, as her dad was a boilermaker on this same site. She remembers the pride he had in his work, and now Melissa has the same feeling of accomplishment.

Melissa credits a lot of positive changes in her life to her new career in the trades. "I am happier now. I sleep better, have more energy. I even have money left the day before payday! I was expecting to get a job in the trades, but I wasn't expecting everything in my life to be better!"



Meet Rachelle

Rachelle decided to pursue a career as a pipefitter because she wanted to prove to people that she could work hard and be somebody. Well Rachelle, you're somebody!

"People are always saying that a woman can't do it. I love it when I can prove them wrong," says Rachelle. And prove them wrong she did, when Rachelle took the skills she learned at WBF and put them to work for her as an apprentice pipefitter.

Today Rachelle is completing her first year as an apprentice pipefitter. She loves the work and the camaraderie on the job site. She also loves the pay, which she manages to share with her family!

"If women can have babies, they can darn well do this too!" says Rachelle, clearly pleased with her decision to pursue a career in the trades.



Meet Sheila

"I've been with Ledcor on Shell's Albian Sands Jackpine Mine project for over 4 months now. I work with an amazing bunch of men that have taught me soooo much, including Newfaneese. Lol! Lots of east coasters up here! When I got to site they put me on a 30-90 day mentoring program, indicated by a bright green hand stuck to your hardhat like a neon "I'm new" sign.

To my surprise, my foreman informed me after just 20 days that my mentor has signed me off and I may take the green hand off of my hardhat. None of the other first years were signed off that quickly and just knowing that my journeyman was confident in me, gave me the confidence to excel in whatever I was asked to do.

I know that WBF was the place that I found that initial confidence in myself, do yourself a favour and embrace it! Since then I have had the opportunity to do so many different things with really experienced and great journeyman. My next job when I get back is doing high voltage terminations, which guys in the trade 10 years have not yet had the opportunity to be a part of.

I have been told that my good fortune is directly related to my positive attitude and good work ethic. Thank god that was instilled in (beat into) us at WBF, ha ha! I'm headed to school in January 2009 and will have all of my first year hours by April. Four years seems like a long time, but time flies when you're having fun!! The most difficult part of succeeding in a man's world is believing that you belong there, I'm sure glad those wonderful women at WBF made me believe. Good luck to all with your future endeavors, kick butt!"



Meet Stasia

Stasia traded an office job for a welding career, with better pay and the opportunity to work independently.

Stasia was interested in trading up to a career in the trades when she came to WBF. The hands-on experience and exposure to various trades helped her decide to pursue the welding route.

Today Stasia is a first year welding apprentice. She works by herself, loves her job and is on top of the world. "Now that I conquered the trades, I can do anything," says Stasia. She got her driver's license and bought a car. Look out world!


Meet Tammy

Tammy was a stay-at-home-Mom who was looking for a new career. She knew she didn’t want to work inside or be sitting down all the time. And she knew she wanted to make as much money as her husband, who is a pipefitter!

Tammy’s job search led her to WBF, where she took full advantage of the opportunity to explore different trades. Having been out of school awhile, Tammy found the math component of the training to be very valuable as well.

Today, as an apprentice pipefitter, Tammy operates 50 tonne cranes with such finesse that companies are always asking her when she can work with them again.

As well as building her confidence, Tammy’s new career has helped build her credit rating, buy two cars and take her children on their first vacation ever! She’s also saving to buy a house.




Meet Jackie

Journeywoman Welder

In 2007, Jackie moved to Edmonton with her two daughters. She was working as a physical care aid for people with disabilities, but was struggling to make ends meet with the $10.00/hour wage. Jackie tried working in administration at an office, but it wasn’t really for her. She’d always been a tomboy, liked to roll up her sleeves, get her hands dirty and see the results of her labours.

The radio advertisement for Women Building Futures piqued Jackie’s interest. She came to an Information Session with an idea of going into heavy equipment operation but was drawn to welding. Jackie graduated from the Journeywoman Start program in 2007 and was indentured as an apprentice shortly after. Five years later, in 2011, Jackie completed her apprenticeship and is a certified Journeyman welder making more than three times her wage as a physical care aid.

Jackie has also inspired her two daughters; one is indentured as an autobody painter and her 16 year-old is thinking about becoming a mechanic.




Meet Jennifer

In January 2011, Jennifer made the call that would take her from a stay-at-home mom to an independent person, employed, proud and able to provide a good life for her young son.

Jennifer had some experience helping her mother, who did home renovations for clients. She enjoyed the hands-on physical work and decided that a career in the trades would be the right choice for her. Her time at Women Building Futures provided her with a safe place to explore a variety of skilled trades in construction, and she thrived in the program. Jennifer was disciplined and worked hard, and took her studies very seriously. As the program progressed, so did her confidence and self-esteem. She decided that she wanted to be a plumber and after graduating from the program, immediately secured employment with a plumbing company. For the first three months Jennifer worked in their warehouse learning all the various tools needed for the trade, and she is now getting field experience. Jennifer’s employer has indicated that they will be indenturing her as a 1st year apprentice plumber in the very near future.

Jennifer said that she chose WBF because she didn’t find the things offered by the program and facility anywhere else. She also found the Decision Making Workshop was exactly what she needed to honestly look at a possible future in the trades for herself.