Conestoga welding technologist named YWCA woman of distinction
Jackie Morris, a Conestoga graduate and part-time faculty member and technologist, has been named a 2018 Woman of Distinction by the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph. Morris will be recognized for her role as an educator and mentor to women in the trades at a gala celebration on May 3.
Women of Distinction is an annual YMCA-YWCA fundraising event that celebrates the achievements of women in the City of Guelph and Wellington County. Morris is one of 20 women who will be honoured at the gala.
A graduate of Conestoga’s Welding Engineering Technician diploma program, Morris was employed as a part-time work study employee while in school, and upon graduation was hired as a part-time welding technologist and welding instructor for both full-time and continuing education programs at Conestoga’s Guelph and Cambridge campuses. She is currently completing the Welding Engineering - Technology advanced diploma program through Conestoga to broaden her skills.
Morris also volunteers her time as an advocate and mentor for women in skilled trades through programs that help girls and young women explore careers in the trades. She supports summer camps organized by Skills Ontario, and workshops held at Conestoga including Jill of all Trades and Trades and Technology days.
“Women are drastically underrepresented in careers in the skilled trades, and with a significant shortage of skilled professionals, much work needs to be done to empower female youth to consider these options which have been traditionally male-dominated,” said Scott Verhoeve, director of Programs, Skills Ontario. “Jackie has demonstrated passion, not only for her profession as a welder, but in inspiring youth to pursue their interests, regardless of social barriers.”
Morris, a single mother of two, said her experiences and success in the trades helps demonstrate that welding is not just a man’s job, but a way to support a family while doing something enjoyable.
“Jackie is not only an inspiration to women like myself, she is also an advocate for young girls to explore their untapped potential. She is very understanding of the fears that these girls may have when trying welding for the first time and helps them to see that welding is actually a very interesting and exciting thing,” said Tara Chambers, a student in the Welding Engineering Technology program.
As a 2018 honouree, Morris will participate in a number of community activities leading up to the gala in May, including an International Women’s Day event on March 8 and an outreach session with the Guelph Teenage Parents Program in April.
Conestoga is a provincial leader in the delivery of trades and apprenticeship training to serve industry needs and our growing community. Comprehensive programming includes a wide range of post-secondary trades programs that provide pathways to employment in skilled trades careers as well as pre-apprenticeship training and in-school training for apprentices.