Sarah Dmytruk: Making Her Metal

Math was Sarah’s favourite subject in school, which is why she originally considered engineering. But when she first tried welding in shop class, she quickly discovered her new career path. “I never thought welding would be something I like—it was a big eye-opener,” she explains.

She wants to show other girls that there are careers in what she likes to call the hands-on, “messy” trades. Although she found welding difficult at first, she refused to give up and continued to expand her skills—even venturing into the realm of metal art! Sarah excitedly describes a few of her creative projects, including various garden ornaments and even a copper corsage she crafted for her grad ceremony in 2019.

No longer a novice, she stresses the importance of patience and persistence. “You can’t expect to be the best on your first try. You have to ask for help, get pointers, try different things—and take lots of notes,” she laughs.

Yet, while Sarah was making major career decisions, she received some life-altering news. She describes the experience of being diagnosed with high-functioning autism while still in high school, and she admits she was initially worried it would impact her future. However, the additional support she received through her school helped her develop the confidence to tackle bigger projects head on. Sarah now views her diagnosis as an empowering moment in her life. “A lot of people think that mental health is a setback, but I like to think of it as [just another] challenge that helps you grow.”

Because she was able to gain credits toward her welding certificate while still a student, Sarah was able to start her career before graduating secondary school. She completed her Red Seal exam in early 2020 and is currently logging enough work hours to become an official Red Seal Welder—which will allow her to work across Canada. (Find out if your school offers a similar dual program at ITA Youth B.C.)

Support from her teachers and family helped Sarah accomplish her goals. When she was in school, her teacher told her that the best welder he had ever met was a woman—which encouraged her to keep going. Sarah hopes her story will one day provide similar inspiration to young apprentices.

When it comes to a career in the trades, Sarah leaves other young adults considering with one final piece of advice: “Just jump in with both feet. Don’t hesitate with the trades! I know it’s nerve-wracking at first, but you’ll fit in eventually as you get a feel for how the shop works. You just have to be adaptable and keep trying!”

Learn more about becoming a welder by viewing the WorkBC career profile and CareerTrek video.