When There Are No Limits

When There Are No Limits

Life’s journey has many paths which may include road bumps along the way, but those obstacles always bring out the best in someone who is willing to never give up on their dreams.

Growing up in a community with a population less than 500 residents can pose its own challenges, but it doesn’t mean it is the end of the road for someone wanting more. Kristina Yetman from Bryant’s Cove, Newfound­land and Labrador was one of those who had bigger aspirations, and with perseverance she would overcome those road bumps and fuse her own successful path in life.

Kristina chose a unique path – she entered the welding profession.

“I chose welding as a career for myself for the simple reason that to me, welding is a challenging and dynamic career that requires highly skilled craftspeople who take pride in their work,” she said. “Welding is a career that offers more choices of industries to work in with advancement op­portunities than just about any other profession. With this career choice, I believe that the sky, or in this case, the very bottom of the ocean is the limit.”

Welding for Kristina is much more than just donning a welding helmet and fusing metals together – for her, it’s her passion.

“I love the feeling I get when I’m welding two pieces of metal together, and I get the perfect slag peel and underneath is a beautiful bead of weld – it’s like opening a Christmas gift every day,” she said. “Welding to me is like artwork. The thing about metal is, no matter what happens, you can always repair, tack, or extend something. I love being able to look at blueprints and create something from pieces of metal. I don’t feel like I wake up every morning to go to work. I wake up and go and do what I love – I wake up and go weld; I wake up and expand my knowledge and skills every day.”

Waking up every morning and pursuing her passion wasn’t always the case for Kristina. There was a time not too long ago when she didn’t even know if she could realize her dreams because of financial constraints that limited her to obtain welding tickets for job prospects.

“I felt that I had every qualification for the jobs I had applied for, yet I had hit the same speed bump time after time again. The same question kept coming up in every conversation: ‘what tickets do you have? Do you have all positions?’”

After hearing “you’re not qualified enough” over and over again, Kristi­na took matters into her own hands and heard about how the Canadian Welding Association Foundation provides funding for female welding ap­prentices through the Office to Advance Women Apprentices, an orga­nization that works with female apprentices once they complete their school training to assist them in finding employment opportunities with the ultimate goal of achieving journeyman status.

“With my own financial struggles, I knew that it would have been impos­sible for me to be able to pay out of pocket for my welding tickets,” she said. “I could barely afford groceries, and always had to choose rent over that night’s supper.”

A partnership between the CWA Foundation and the Office to Advance Women Apprentices was established in 2015 to fund nine women so they could complete their welder refresher training and complete their CWB welding qualifications for various welding positions.

Kristina, 24, was one of selected ladies, and she successfully obtained her CWB qualifications in four positions for Flux Core and flat, horizontal and overhead in SMAW.

“If it were not for the generous support of the CWA Foundation, I would not have had the opportunity to go ahead and do my CWB welding tick­ets,” she said. “The CWA Foundation gave me an opportunity to real­ize my dreams and I’m very thankful for everything the organization has done for me. They gave me the chance to have the career I love.”

Because of the opportunity the CWA Foundation provided the 24-year-old welding apprentice to obtain her welding qualifications, Kristina is now employed at Fitz’s Mobile Welding in Bay Robert’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

“It’s a diverse welding company that takes on many projects, from crab pots to going down on the OCI boats doing repairs and refits. They are an amazing company, owned by the hardest workers I’ve had the opportuni­ty to work with or for,” she said. “This is all possible because of the CWA Foundation. I just want to say thank you.”

Executive Director of the CWA Foundation Deborah Mates said impactful testimonials such as Kristina’s is why the Foundation is always willing to help when needed – because lives can change for the better by just pro­viding people with an opportunity to succeed.

“These testimonials are heartfelt and real,” she said. “The success stories are a key part as to why we do what we do at the CWA Foundation. We believe in helping all demographics in realizing their dreams to become the next generation of welding professionals no matter what barriers they face. I’m glad that Kristina has succeeded, she is going to accomplish a lot of wonderful things and I truly wish her the best. She will always be part of the CWA Foundation family and a symbol of inspiration for many others who want to realize their dreams.”