Wiebke Jansen

Welding Apprentice
Seaspan Shipyards
Location Now
Education Pathway

Outside of work I

I love the outdoors! Visiting the mountains, lakes and the ocean is where I am the happiest. As a result, living in North Vancouver is definitely my happy place because it just has it all!

In the winter, I’m out skiing and snowboarding all the time!  In the summer, I love going camping on the weekends, hiking in the mountains and paddle boarding on lakes!  I also play softball in the summer in a team with all my friends, which is a lot of fun!

Outside of work I
My career path is

Considering the fact that I have a diploma in Economics and Administration, I would say a couple of years ago I would have never thought that I would end up working in trades!

When I was in my final year of school, I already felt a little bored by the idea of a full-time office job.  I moved from Germany to Whistler for a year. By chance I got a job as a construction labourer!  After a little while, I became the welder‘s helper for the same construction company.  Before that job, I had literally no clue what welding even was. I became good friends with the welder, and whenever we had some free time, he explained what welding was and even let me try some welding!  I fell in love with the trade instantly and had so much fun. When I became a Canadian permanent resident, this allowed me to become a registered apprentice. I did  my Level 1 schooling for welding at BCIT in Vancouver.  After that I got hired by Seaspan Shipyards, where I am now.

My career path is
My advice to others

Step outside of your comfort zone! I had never expected making a career as a welder in the shipyards a couple years ago. Today, I can’t think of a more fun and enjoyable job. Don’t be afraid if you are a minority in an Industry; it’s just another reason to do it!

My advice to others

About me

I was born/grew up in:  Schwalmtal, West Germany

I now live in: North Vancouver, B.C.

I completed my training/education at:  I attended high school and completed a diploma in Economics and Administration in college in Germany before moving to Canada. As part of my Welding Apprenticeship I attend the British Columbia Institute of technology (BCIT) for each apprentice year, for a total of four years.

About me

I am motivated by

I enjoy working at Seaspan Shipyards every day. It’s an exciting job and I am learning many new things every day.  Welding is like a hobby and a lot of fun.

Working for Seaspan Shipyards as an apprentice, I can see how my own learning progressed in the last year, and am proud of it. Welds were very hard for me to do, like overheads or verticals, are getting easier every day! I couldn’t imagine having to sit at an office desk all day as I really enjoy working with my hands.

Also through work, I have met my best friends and it’s so great to see them every day and to work together on the same project! 

I also really enjoy the fact that there are quite a few women in the shipyard working in different trades. I’m part of the changing face of the skilled trades!

I am motivated by
How I affect people's livesDoing quality work  is the most important factor. Welds have to match a specific standard designed for the ship that is being built. This helps make sure it is safe for use after production. My work is important because it keeps people safe. Knowing people will cross oceans on the ships we have built and that it is our responsibility for their safety is a good example of my a career in welding is relevant. It is just like being able to rely on your car when you are driving on the highway without worrying that the front of the car will fall off.
How I affect people's lives
What I do at work

As a welding apprentice at Seaspan Shipyards, I am part of a big team. Together we build large ships for the Canadian government.

Welding is a fabrication process that fuses two or more parts together by using heat, pressure, or both. The most commonly welded materials are metals, such as aluminum, mild steel (low carbon steel), and stainless steel.

The source of heat in welding is usually an arc flame produced by electricity. The arc flame looks like a bolt of lightning. It allows the electricity to flow through the air gap, creating an arc with a temperature of approximately 3600 degrees Celsius! In comparison, the Sun is at about 5500 degrees Celsius.

There are different welding processes. At Seaspan Shipyards, we mainly use the wire feed welding. This type of welding is a process where filler wire is fed through a welding gun, producing hot liquid metal. As the wire feeds through the welding gun, shielding gas also comes out of the welding nozzle. The shielding gas plays an important role in the quality of welding by protecting the puddle of hot liquid metal from the air during the welding process (air can weaken the corrosion-tolerance of the weld). The two (or more) elements joined by welding will produce a firm connection as they cool.

We have multiple large workshops within the shipyard. Smaller welding pieces are produced in the first shop. Later they are moved to the next shop where they are welded to bigger pieces on panels. Those panels are then assembled into big blocks that are finally transported to the last station . Here all the manufactured blocks are assembled together into one ship.

It’s exciting to follow the growth of the pieces and seeing originally smaller pieces that you have welded ending up as massive blocks. It’s kind of like Lego - but for Adults ;)

Throughout the workday, safety is the most important factor. I have to wear my proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) all day. My PPE includes fire-resistant coveralls, hardhat, steel-toed boots, safety glasses, and hearing protection. I also wear additional PPE for the tasks that I am doing. When I am welding, I also need to wear a dark-tinted face shield to protect my face from the ultraviolet rays. It also helps me see the molten puddle of metal under the electric welding arc. I also wear a respirator to protect myself from any possibly harmful fumes.

 At the end of each day, I inspect all the work that I have done. I take pride in all the things that I have welded. It is very rewarding to be able to see visually what you have achieved during that day!

What I do at work
When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Business & Economics
  • Geography
  • Physical Education/Health
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Brought people together
  • Always wanted to be outside
  • Liked helping people
  • Wanted to be in charge
  • Felt at home in the outside, natural environment
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Learned best “by doing"


Seaspan Shipyards

Let’s Talk Science appreciates the support of Seaspan Shipyards in connecting us with this individual.

Seaspan Shipyards is a leader in Canada’s shipbuilding and ship repair industry. With modern facilities and a dedicated workforce of 2,700 in North Vancouver and Victoria, Seaspan Shipyards has proven itself to be a trusted partner on a range of complex projects for both government and the private sector. Seaspan Shipyards is proud to be Canada’s chosen non-combat shipbuilder under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). In this capacity, the company is building state-of-the-art ships in Canada for the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy. Through its NSS-related work, Seaspan Shipyards is creating jobs, generating economic benefits and rebuilding Canada’s shipbuilding and marine industries.

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