Crysta - Women in Trades Employment Training

Welder – Crysta Wilson

Trade: Welder
Employer: SCS Steel Container Systems Inc. 
Location: Nanaimo, BC

It’s break time – 9:30 AM – and the crew files out of the warehouse building on the SCS Steel Container Systems Inc. property in Nanaimo, BC. Crysta Wilson flips her welding helmet up as she walks out, below the bold welding shop sign, talking with a co-worker and making her way to the office trailer.

SCS is a Canadian owned and operated manufacturer, providing a full range of steel container products including roll off containers, recycling containers, scrap containers, and more. The company has been operating for over 30 years. Crysta has been employed as a welder for a couple months, but it didn’t take the company or Crysta long to learn the fit was very right.

AJ Hustins, General Manager of SCS Steel Container Systems, with welder and STEP participant, Crysta Wilson.

“We pride ourselves on productivity – it’s a tough group to get into. A good attitude and good work ethic are a big part of what we look for. Crysta’s doing a great job,” says AJ Hustins, General Manager of SCS.

Tradespeople have different stories to tell when it comes to their paths to skilled trades careers. Crysta’s starts with a trades sampler course where welding stood out as the winning trade choice for her.

“Welding has this component to it where it’s a physical skill – you’re learning how to master a craft. That’s what drew me towards it,” says Crysta.

Navigating the industry’s realities and rumours was another story. As a woman in the trades, Crysta heard about the challenges that she may face with an old school mentality. She also understood that welding work on Vancouver Island was very competitive, and job opportunities less available. The STEP team on Vancouver Island has noticed (as of the date of this post) that welding has become a very competitive trade in the region. Crysta stayed motivated and soon discovered these concerns were not her reality.

“I came in and handed my resume to AJ. He was like, ‘So, show up Tuesday!’ I was really happy with that,” says Crysta. “Coming into this atmosphere, people were so nice and supportive. No one really looks down on you, that you’re not capable. They’re really great about it.”

Welder and STEP participant, Crysta Wilson, with her co-worker at SCS Steel Container Systems in Nanaimo, BC.

Before Crysta stepped into the SCS office to pass along her resume, she reached out to the Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP).

“I went to university in Kamloops and I learned about STEP through my university. Because it’s a program that works with individual people, I didn’t get in touch until I moved to the island so the REPS here would have a relationship with me and help me find a job,” says Crysta.

STEP’s Regional Employment Placement Specialist (REPS) Kelsey Botting provided Crysta with feedback on her resume along with interview tips and financial support for tools such as a leveling square, clamps, and a grinder. “The basic welding stuff that you don’t really think about until you go to work!” says Crysta.

“STEP really gave me the opportunity to go out and look for work. Coming out of school, I was nervous. It gave me confidence. Kelsey helped me go over my resume and made a list of places to go look at. Once I got the job, she made sure I had everything I needed to do the job competently,” says Crysta.

Welder and STEP participant, Crysta Wilson, working in Nanaimo, BC at SCS Steel Container Systems.

The work days at SCS are scheduled. Everything from the break period, emergency drill tests to all the projects in the shop cells have scheduled minutes. Productivity is strong and expectations are clear.

“One of the things I tell young people: we’re going to ask you to do some things you’re not trained to do. For Crysta Wilson, what she’s doing for us right now in the different cells, it’s mostly welding. She’s running from small parts to bins to components to doing assembly. She’s getting a lot of really, really good experience,” says AJ.

And it shows. Crysta is learning new skills to master her craft every day.

“My strength is my willingness to learn and the effort I put in. Right now, it’s not my physical skills, but I show up and I’m willing to learn,” says Crysta.

And just like that, the break’s over. It’s time to go back to the welding shop.

Interested in a career in the skilled trades? Connect with a STEP Regional Employment Placement Specialist (REPS) today.

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