Women are entering the male dominated field of welding and finding success at Surry Community College.
That’s the word from the college, which is offering a spring Welding for Women course Mondays, March 19 through May 7, from 6 to 10 p.m.
“This empowering course is exclusively for women and is led by a knowledgeable, highly capable female welding instructor, Robin Haas of Westfield, who studied the welding craft at Surry prior to taking over as an instructor,” the college said in a written statement announcing the course.
Student Mary Shepherd of Elkin said welding is a great skill for her business and at home for projects. She had performed stick welding a long time ago and was intrigued to take a female led course.
“I like reusing old stuff. I have a pile of old metal in my warehouse, and I want to become more confident in putting unlike metals together,” Shepherd said. “I am in it more for art.”
Shepherd is a former middle school teacher who now owns Revient LLC in North Wilkesboro, which is a nationwide supplier of a variety of quality building materials, milled from antique reclaimed wood.
Rachel Collins of Mount Airy was introduced to Tungsten Inert Gas welding while on a second date with her boyfriend and is now thinking about getting a diploma in welding.
“He loves welding. He brought me into something he loves, and I fell in love with it too,” Collins said.
She works as horse breeder and was also inspired to take the Women for Welding class since the class was taught by a female instructor.
“I love it. It’s not just coming to a college course. It’s a relief of stress. I haven’t spoken to any women who didn’t like it. You can bring your problems to welding, and the stress just goes away when you start working,” Collins said. “I think women should try it and not be afraid. I feel very welcome in this field by the men. They are curious about why are you here in a positive way.”
The course introduces basic gas metal arc welding, also known as metal inert gas welding. Emphasis is on the short-circuit process applied with shielding gas. Students will receive instruction on mild steel electrodes as well. Course content will be specific to metal inert gas welding and will include safety, proper equipment setup, and welding in various positions on a variety of project carbon steel.
Upon completion, students should be able to set up gas metal arc welding equipment and perform welding on carbon steel plate in various positions. Advance registration and payment of $127 are required.
These classes will all meet in S-106 at Surry Community College, 630 S. Main St., Dobson. No prior welding experience is necessary to enroll. Leather boots with steel toes are highly recommended; leather shoes are required. Denim long pants and long sleeve shirts are required. Students cannot wear synthetic clothing for safety purposes. For more information, call (336) 386-3637.
Follow the Welding program on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @surrywelding. Watch a video about Surry’s Welding program on the program website on surry.edu.