Competing at Skills Canada nationals on Canada’s East Coast, Yellowknife’s Jaslynn Menton welded a metal lighthouse on Tuesday.
“There’s a few things I messed up, but practice makes perfect,” Menton said Wednesday morning.
Her Wednesday task involved welding a standard box, which she said she’s done before and is more comfortable tackling.
The welders have to be mindful of a number of variables as they execute their horizontal and vertical welds — temperature and speed, in particular, are crucial. Pause too long and the welds become too thick. Go too fast and small ripples, known as undercuts, will be left behind.
Safety is another serious consideration. All competitors must don welding shields, gloves, steel-toed boots and wear non-flammable materials.
Menton wound up being introduced to welding at St. Patrick High School when her counsellor “kind of just put me in the class” last year, she said.
“I didn’t really want to do it but I tried it anyway and I wound up liking it,” said Menton, who’s in Grade 11.
She now has ambitions to get her red seal in welding in the future.
Menton is the only female competitor in the welding division at Skills Canada nationals in Halifax, and it’s a male-dominated trade. But gender isn’t a factor, she said.
“It just depends if you have a passion for it,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female.”