Meet Nikki, Lambton College’s Welding Program Coordinator


The skilled labour force needs to fill more and more vacancies in the job market. One great way to do this: encourage more women to join the skilled trades!

Although statistics vary, the consensus is that women account for less than 10% of the skilled labour force. That means women represent a still-untapped resource for combatting the skilled trades labour shortage. This is partly because of the lingering stereotypes and prejudices faced by women when they try to enter male-dominated trades like plumbing, electrical, etc.

Recently, we were fortunate to speak with Nikki Noble, Lambton College’s Welding Program Coordinator, about her experience entering the skilled trades as a woman.

Nikki’s experiences have shaped how she teaches her students and why she advocates for equality in skilled trades.

Nikki’s Winding Path to the Trades

From the first time she welded two pieces of metal together at a YMCA Career Day in her hometown of Sarnia, Ontario, she knew she wanted to pursue a career working with her hands. She started by joining a local fabricator and picking up skills that continuously built up her trade knowledge.

Once she finished high school, and it was time to pick a career path, Nikki’s parents encouraged her to attend business school – which she did while still working as a welder. When she graduated, she went back to welding full-time, attending vocational school and earning her welding certifications, eventually earning her Red Seal in the trade.

In the years that followed, Nikki worked for local businesses, ran her own company, and taught at her vocational school. She got her foot in the door at Lambton in 2017 and quickly moved up the ranks until she was named Program Coordinator of Welding in 2020.

Lambton currently hosts 11 programs and apprenticeships that involve welding..

All Welcome in Lambton’s Welding Program

Nikki has done amazing things as a tradesperson, but there were some struggles along the way.

Nikki didn’t slow down to worry about things like gender when she was doing her training, but she knew her peers looked at her differently.

According to Nikki, “As a woman in the skilled trades, you do irritate some people.”

Even now, after more than 20 years in her profession, she still finds that some of her male peers don’t take her as seriously because she is a woman. “You end up having to constantly prove yourself,” Nikki said.

“But you don’t have to listen to their negativity.”

Nikki strongly promotes equality in her classroom. “They’re all here to learn welding, regardless of gender, race, orientation, or background,” she said.

Her goals are to create an equal playing field for everyone who enters her program and help open doors for all welders from all walks of life.

Nikki’s Message to Women in Trades

As a trailblazer for women in skilled trades, we asked Nikki if she had any words for young women who want to enter the field.

“I had to carve out my space the entire way through. People tried to write me off because I was a petite girl with a loud voice. They still do at times.”

“But the important thing is, I protect my space – and I always end up proving those people wrong.”