As part of Asian Heritage Month, we’re highlighting and celebrating the diverse backgrounds of the tradespeople that make up British Columbia’s labour force. In this Q&A, we connected with 金巧淳 (Judy Chin), a Red Seal Welder working as a Welder Fabricator in Coquitlam, BC.
How did you first hear about the skilled trades and what inspired you to pursue it as a career?
My only friend in the construction trades is a rig welder. Back then, I had no knowledge of any other trades, so I went with the only one I knew. It was important to me to pick a career that would allow me to work my way up, and I wanted a transferable skill that I could take with me wherever I went.
What do you love most about working in the skilled trades?
The opportunity to learn something new from just about anyone. In my experience, tradespeople tend to be very solution-oriented, and sometimes a problem just needs a pair of fresh eyes.
What do you enjoy doing during your spare time?
Weightlifting, dancing, and collecting fragrances. In the summertime I love lake days, campfires, and roadtrips.
What does Asian Heritage Month mean to you?
For me, Asian Heritage Month is a time for reflection and remembrance. I was just 8 years old when my family moved to Canada from Taiwan. I feel like I'm constantly trying to grasp onto whatever remnants of my culture that are still recognizable within me and grieving the continual loss of it at the same time. It's a very isolating experience, but hardly a unique one. Now is the time to check out and share the many featured art and stories from those that came before.
What advice do you have for anyone interested in trades? Particularly for others who are of Asian ethnicity?
I understand it can be difficult to explain this pathway to our families. There is still a lot of stigma that comes with working a blue-collar job. However, the reality is that it can be a very rewarding career path with great job security, opportunity for advancement, and eventual financial freedom. I want others to know that there are supports available every step of the way from all levels of government, organizations, and education institutions. Mentorship is extremely important. People want to see you succeed.
Anything else you'd like to share?
One of the best ways to take part in Asian Heritage Month is through food. So order some steamed dumplings, bubble tea, and a dish you've never tried before ;)