Finding a career in an unlikely place

Tue, Dec 4, 2018

Stacey Brown has always worked a trades environment. From auto-glass repair to HVAC equipment, roofing, and more. So, when she was looking for a new career, welding wasn’t too far out of her comfort zone.


“I signed up for the program before I even tried it so I was like I better like this,” she says.


Her husband suggested she try a career in trades. After doing her research, welding stood out to her.


And when it was time to choose a trades school, Brown looked to her alma mater, Kwantlen Polytechnic University.


“I went to Kwantlen before when I came out of high school. I was taking sciences and sociology so it was the logical choice. I knew how they were structured. The commute was also closer.”


She liked the block intake structure at the KPU Tech campus in Cloverdale which means everyone is in a cohort and moves through school together.


Brown adds that she didn’t want to go back to school for years. With this program, she was in school for almost seven months and is now an apprentice with a manufacturing company in Aldergrove.


“The program was really good because it worked out with daycare, home life and stuff. It worked out great because I started taking classes in January and it was four days a week.”


That also works for her because Brown is a mom to a four and eight-year-old. She is also a woman in a typically male-dominated profession.


“Sometimes they want to be chivalrous and help you out all the time and sometimes it’s like just back up, I can handle this.”


And once she moved into the real world, there were more challenges.


“When you leave school and go out into the workforce it really hits you that it’s not quite as structured and you have to fight through some things on your own,” Brown adds.


The advice she has for someone thinking about working in the trades:


“Check it out, talk to the teachers but also visit shops and talk to them. Get a feel for the environment first. It would be the worst diving in and realizing that it’s not for you or you find out it really is for you.”


To learn more about the trades and technology programs at KPU, visit