Lincoln Electric UK Announce Their New Women in Welding Ambassadors

by Rapid Welding 8. July 2021 14:52

Last year, as part of our Focus on ‘Women in Welding’, we had the pleasure of speaking with Ruth Amos who, as well as being an inventor and successful entrepreneur, is also well known as Co-Creator of the amazing “Kids Invent Stuff” YouTube channel. She is also a keen welder, and for a number of years has worked closely with Lincoln Electric UK as a ‘Women in Welding’ Ambassador.

Women in Welding is a fantastic campaign aimed at attracting more female interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics). The concept, which Lincoln began in the early 1940’s by hosting welder training events for women, celebrates women’s achievements and raises awareness against bias within the industry.   

Lincoln Electric UK celebrates International Women’s Day by announcing their new Women in Welding Ambassadors

To coincide with International Women’s Day, Lincoln Electric UK have embarked on another Women in Welding Campaign by announcing four exciting additions to their team of ambassadors, chosen not only because of their dedication to hard work and ‘boundary breaking’ attitudes, but because they aren’t afraid to be unique. Together they aim to inspire the next generation of budding female welders, and we were lucky enough to grab a spare minute with these busy ladies for a little Q&A. 

Chelsea McShane

How it all started

In 2019 I enrolled in a 12-month NVQ level 2 fab/weld course and completed it in 5 months. During this time I applied for an apprenticeship with a company called Wood, and I was offered the job.  I was so happy to be given the opportunity and I have been there for 16 months so far. 

Why welding? 

My main reason for getting into the industry was because growing up I watched my dad do manual labour jobs and I always wanted to be like him - I would always help around the house or garden with whatever my dad was doing. After moving back to my parents’ house after 7 years of having my own place, I finally had the support to do something/anything I wanted. This was the opportunity of a lifetime for me, so as I said, I did my NVQ level 2 and then started my apprenticeship. I had a male friend who would send me videos of his work as a welder, and it amazed me. I wanted to do it myself. I thought, what have I got to lose? So, I went for it! The best thing I’ve ever done was to follow a career path that was not classed as a ‘female’ job, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

What other people say 

Whenever someone asks me what I work as and I reply, “I’m training to be a welder/fabricator”, they look at me strange and reply with “what? Really?”  Each time this makes me laugh, because I think a person can do any job they put their mind to. My work colleagues have been great with me and have always looked out for me. My parents have been an amazing support bubble for me too; they know that I am the type of person to go out and get what I want and try my hardest to get it. 

If someone asked me if they should go into welding/fabricating then I would say, if it’s what you really want to do then go for it, you have nothing to lose and you’re only here once. Male or female, never doubt yourself! Follow your instinct and dreams and any path you want. Only you can go and get it all! 

Follow Chelsea  https://www.instagram.com/the_welding_princess/

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Chelsea Griffin  

 

How it all started

I was encouraged to join the industry through a friend I met at church. It was not something I was expecting, but it was quite nice to have someone who realised that I am not the typical girl who wanted the usual feminine jobs. When my friend asked me if I knew about the sector, I had no idea, because it wasn't something that was mentioned during my school years. Engineering was just for boys, or so I thought …. 

I would advise women to investigate this career or as a hobby by contacting their nearest colleges that offer fabrication and welding courses, because that’s a starting point and they’re good courses that offer an insight into the sector. Welding can be very artistic, so it is worth enquiring if you are interested in being creative.  

 

Why Welding? 

Welding and being part of the initiative to encourage more females is important to me because I feel like many people do not realise how good the industry is, or that it is not just for men. Women can do the job just as well as men. My favourite part of the job is when I complete a full job with my fitter and it passes all the relevant testing that is required in my line of work, such as an x-ray, because it helps me reflect on my efforts and where I can improve. 

 

What other people say 

Since being in the industry I have faced multiple challenges from men. For example, I have faced the misogynistic view that women belong in the kitchen, or that I should have been at home with my children and be a housewife. I have constantly had to prove myself that I can do the job as well as the males I did my apprenticeship with.  I have had many friends express general shock that I am in this industry, because they often give off a negative opinion about how it is a male job, which is dirty. They feel you can’t progress or be proud of your work. I enjoy this type of debate though because it is often friendly, and it gives me more of an insight on how I can tackle this view by being a Women in Welding ambassador. 

 

Follow Chelsea - https://www.instagram.com/ladywelder91/

 

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Mollie Leach

 

How it all started

I would advise any woman with even a slight thought of coming into the industry to just do it! If you don’t really know where to start or don’t know much, the best advice I can give is watch videos, read blogs, follow social media pages and try and make connections with people in the industry. Speak to them, let them tell you about their experiences and what potential paths there are available to go down. If possible, try a taster of welding. There are lots of colleges that offer courses, so give it a go and see if it’s something you enjoy. Never ever shy away from an opportunity just because someone says you might not be able to do it. What I’ve learnt is that you’ve always got to have enough belief in yourself so that, even if you fail, you will always be okay. Even if you fail at aiming for the top and it doesn’t work out, you’ll never hit the bottom because you’ve already passed that point.

Why welding?

Welding is important to me as it pushes and defies the usual standards for young women and girls, like myself. It’s important as it teaches you to be independent, deal with real life difficult situations where you have to make informed decisions and do with full confidence in yourself. It’s also important as it’s breaking down the hurdles that for past women were in the way, making room for younger generations to come through and be heard and seen and showcase their talents. It’s important as it pushes me to be brave and trust that what I’m doing is good enough, that I’m worthy to be in this industry just as much as anyone else. It’s important as it challenges me and forces me to really think; think of new ways to do things and learn new skills that can push myself and my career further.

I think the best part of my job is learning. I’ve always been a person who loves to learn new things and see new things, and over the past 3 years I’ve done just that. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing people who have taught me so much and have always been there to help when I need it. In the welding industry it’s very rarely ‘same old, same old’, there’s always something exciting going on around you and there’s always something new to learn. I think that’s why I’ve enjoyed it so much.


What People Say

Don’t listen to what anyone else is saying! if it’s something you really want to do, then absolutely do it! I have such supportive and amazing people around me that nothing has ever really come as a surprise to them what I get up to in my life. I’ve never really conformed to the usual standards for girls or picked very “girly” things to do in life, so when I told my family I’d gotten an apprenticeship in welding they were absolutely over the moon for me. I couldn’t have asked for any more encouragement and support if I tried and, if I’m honest, I think they like telling people what my job is and speaking about it more than me! As for my friends, our worlds could not be further apart with regards to career choices, however all of them have been so incredibly supportive and even though they don’t really understand what I do each day, they’ve always been my biggest supporters and helped me in any way they can. 

Anyone who works in this industry knows that it has its challenges and knows it is not always plain sailing. Sometimes you do face difficult people. For the most part throughout my apprenticeship, I have been surrounded by amazing and supportive men and women who have really helped me in my journey and believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. However there have also been some situations in which men have decided to take it upon themselves to make degrading, sexist and stereotypical comments. When I hear men say to me “you shouldn’t be here because you’re a girl”, “what does your dad think of you being here?”, “did you not want to do hairdressing or nails for a career?”, it hurts quite a lot.  I always just look at them and wish they could hear themselves through my ears. Perhaps then they would realise how degrading they sound and how much it can knock your confidence. It’s taken me a long time to learn how to deal with these sorts of people, however now I just use it as motivation. No one should ever have to go to work and feel like they aren’t good enough, just because of their gender.

 

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Mikala Eade

 

Why welding?

The best part of being a welder is completing a job and then seeing it on a real-life building, such as Whitechapel Station in London and The Albion Football Centre in Brighton!

What other people say

My family, friends and college lecturers have all been so supportive throughout my choice. Encouraging young woman into an engineering career is now important to me too, because I know how daunting it can be. It is often seen as a 'man’s job', which is a stereotype that needs to change. I’ve heard it all, comments such as 'you don’t look like a welder', 'you can’t weld with them nails', 'you shouldn’t be in a man’s job' …. These are challenges I’ve had to overcome. I was the only woman on my welding course for all 5 years and I’m now the only female in my workplace, but I couldn’t be happier. The guys I work with and go to college with are lovely and have helped me so much. I’ve definitely made friends for life!

The advice I would give to other woman thinking about going into engineering is to go for it! It sounds so cheesy, but you won’t regret it!
 

Follow Mikala: https://www.instagram.com/mikalaeademetalwork/

 

#Kids Invent Stuff#weldred#iwd2021#womeninwelding

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