For Holly Walters, Structural Welding Inspector in the Quality Control department at Halifax Shipyard, working with Techsploration students is a highlight of the year. Established in 1998, Techsploration is a non-profit organization that encourages young women in junior high and high school to explore careers in Science, Trades, and Technology (STEM), fields in which women are underrepresented. Students participating in Techsploration have the opportunity to work with a female mentor in STEM and to learn about the career opportunities that exist.
Irving Shipbuilding Inc. has supported and partnered with Techsploration in many ways over the years. The Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence has sponsored five teams a year since 2016 from across the province to participate in the Techsploration Goes to School initiative.
This year, Holly was a mentor for six young girls from Middleton Regional High School. The students met with Holly and Casey Lee McKay, Safety Advisor at Halifax Shipyard to learn about their jobs, as well as the shipbuilding industry. They toured Halifax Shipyard, the most modern shipyard in North America, met women working in engineering, project management, and skilled trades, and built their own Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships.
On May 9 and 10 at the Techsplorer event, held at Saint Mary’s
University, students, teachers, and mentors gathered to watch students give
presentations about their experiences working with their Techsploration mentors
and to participate in workshops. This gives students even more insight into the
diverse range of careers available in STEM from all of the students and mentors
across the province.
Holly’s team gave a creative Pink Panther themed presentation, since she’s an inspector too. They shared what they learned working with her, including how the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships for the Royal Canadian Navy are being built and launched at Halifax Shipyard and how Holly inspects welds using non-destructive testing to avoid damage to the ships’ metal. Once again, they built their very own ship, the HMCS Techsploration, and even a barge to launch it.
Great job to all the girls who participated in the Techsplorer event! Hopefully there are some future shipbuilders among you!