RBC Women in Trades Blog

Mentoring Hits the Mark for Welding Graduate

  Posted by Meghan on: September 20, 2017

It is always an interesting shift when a former Thompson Rivers University Trades and Technology student becomes a mentor and they’re able to see things from the proverbial flip side of the coin. It’s even more interesting when the flip side involves teaching teenage girls, hot welding bays and fireproof coveralls. Nevertheless, it has all been a part her experience with Thompson Rivers University for Emily Rothbart.

Rothbart started her journey at TRU in 2007 as a part of the high-school Ace-it program, continued afterward into the Welding foundation class, and found it was a natural fit for her. After her foundation class completion Rothbart moved to Kelowna for work before getting what she considers her big break into welding jobs which took her to Fort MacMurray, followed by continuing on to job sites in Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories. It was while working in these jobs for Kingland Freightliner Western Star where she was able to gain hands-on experience in the field and work with a fantastic crew. While working in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, Rothbart rescued a dog named Heist knowing it would take her back down south in order to work around the care the dog needed.

Moving back to Kamloops meant coming back to TRU to work towards her Red Seal knowing it would lead to better chances of getting local work. Rothbart worked at it over the years completing her Red Seal in welding in 2015. Since then Rothbart has worked numerous jobs in the field of welding, but just as her education has brought her back to TRU continually over the past 10 years, so did life afterwards.

Rothbart attended a ‘Women in Leadership’ Conference in Vancouver in February 2017, along with other female trades and technology students, which was a part of RBC Women in Trades leadership training. While there she met welding instructor Rebecca Kennedy and they were able to share stories with each other, and as well as other female students and alumni in programs from Culinary Arts to Plumbing.

“It was a really cool environment of women empowering women and building each other up which is always nice to see, especially in the trades,” Rothbart said of the experience. “It showed we’re all in the same boat across the board as far as trying to find equality and trying to balance the scales.”

Motivated by the leadership conference and with the encouragement of Kennedy, Rothbart signed on to assist in the Mind Over Metal welding camps for teenagers, which happened during the last two weeks of July 2017. Despite a little bit of hesitation to sign on at first, Rothbart was incredibly happy she did after the two weeks.

“I’ve never taught anybody before but it came a lot easier than I thought I was going to. That twelve to fifteen (years old) age group is a good age for still wanting to listen to instruction and learn a new skill so there weren’t really any issues with kids sort of fighting you or not taking you seriously. Overall it was a great experience and I enjoyed both weeks,” Rothbart mused.

Not only did Rothbart enjoy her time working with the students she was enthusiastic about the possibility of helping with any other future camps and the possibility of future welding projects for teens. Rothbart enthusiastically stated, “If there’s another opportunity I would absolutely jump at the chance. I would also think about other projects we could do with them as we had some real trailblazers that did finish their projects and the sky is the limit for what you can create.”

Rothbart and Kennedy will likely be able to continue with the scope of trailblazing in the welding community as they head to the CanWeld Conference in Montreal from September 12th to 15th, 2017.  Organized by the CWB Group it will allow Rothbart and Kennedy will be exposed to the latest cutting-edge technology, advances, and supplies in welding in order to bring back the information to share with others. Rothbart hopes to gain a little more inspiration and perspective from the conference about what is out there in welding trades, even if not specifically welding.

“I guess more to do with the educating side. Different perspectives and how different educators go about sharing the trade.” Rothbart said.

It seems the ten-year span since Rothbart started at TRU as a high school student herself, to the recent months where she’s taken on projects of assisting high school students has been a natural progression for Rothbart, with many adventures in welding punctuating the years along the way.   Rothbart has shown herself to be an asset to the not only the welding community but to the staff and students at the TRU School of Trades and Technology. There is no telling where Rothbart is going to take her newfound skills in teaching and welding based technology to next, but if history has shown anything it’s that the sky is the limit when it comes to all she has to offer.