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Our Northern Lights: Bailey Bestward

On , In College News, People & Culture, Students

Our Northern Lights is a platform that showcases our people, their stories, and celebrates their achievements. We hope that their journey will inspire others to pursue their dreams and make a difference in the world.

Bailey was serving drinks at Rockwell’s Pub when a group of customers made her an interesting offer:

“They said ‘you should come work with us. We make way more money,’ and that’s where it started.”

Bailey started working as a journeyman’s helper in the oilfield and figured that’s what she’d do forever. She didn’t want to leave the money of the oilfield to go to school, but when her daughter Harper came along, she knew she had to change it up. Shutdowns and camp jobs don’t work well when you have a family, so when Harper was four, Bailey started the welding foundation program.

They said ‘you should come work with us. We make way more money,’ and that’s where it started.

The hours were great because she could drop her daughter off at school and then come in to do her classes. She did all three years of her program back-to-back and earned her red seal in 2022.

Now she works for OCL, building materials for OSB mills — which she says is more reliable than oil and gas work. Not only does she get to work in a shop, she’s also home for dinner every night. There was a time, however, when she wasn’t sure she’d get to work in a shop. There aren’t many female welders hired to work in shops so most of them must work in the field.

“I applied at every welding company in town, and I just got straight up, “We don’t hire women” or I’d just never get a call because I had a baby. So it is hard in that aspect.”

She also noticed a lack of clothing or swag for women in trades jobs so she started her own brand “Boujee Blue Collar” with shirts and stickers for women in trades. You can check out her shop on Facebook.

Keep reading to learn more about Bailey:

What was your favourite place to study on campus?

By the windows in the student commons in the Trades Training Centre.

What would you tell another student if they were thinking about entering the welding program?

Absolutely go for it! Darcy and Skyler [the welding instructors] are amazing, and it’s a really nice shop.

If you could go back to your first week of class and give yourself advice, what would it be?

Patience is a virtue.

What was the best part of your program?

Earning my Red Seal.

What three words would you use to describe your NLC experience?

Informative. Fun. Amazing.

What are you doing now?

I’m welding full-time and I’m a welding supervisor. I have my Level One Welding Inspector Certificate and I’m trying to get my clothing brand out there!