Alumna combines passion for horses and trades< More Stories
“I came to Lakeland with very little actual experience,” she says. “I was definitely in over my head, but I learned a ton. It was a very supportive learning environment, I made lifelong friends I cherish and the skills I learned there have been applicable in so many areas of my life.”
Bevan developed a resiliency at Lakeland that served her in her future career, one that was derived from entering and excelling in a program that she had very little experience in, but a strong passion for.
After graduating, she says, “There wasn’t anything I wouldn’t tackle after I completed the program. I had the confidence to do pretty much anything. It was such a physically challenging program and all of those things made me feel confident in trying the next thing.”
For Bevan, the next thing was boilermaking. In order to establish the horse farm she had been dreaming about, she needed a stable source of income, so she accepted an apprenticeship in boilermaking, where she would discover another passion. She has now been a boilermaker for over 20 years, moving from working on industrial and construction sites around the Edmonton region to working in education and training with the boilermakers’ union. She was the director of apprenticeship and education for the union for 14 years, continually learning and supporting upcoming apprentices. She completed her master’s degree in leadership in 2014.
When the opportunity to apply for the Alberta Apprenticeship & Industry Training Board came up, Bevan took it and was appointed the board chair in 2016.
During her boilermaking training, the foundational education she had at Lakeland contributed to her success.
“There were a lot of business management courses at Lakeland that were integrated into the western horsemanship program,” Bevan explains. “We took accounting and marketing classes that gave me the skills to help me move on in my career. Shortly after I got my Red Seal certification in boilermaking, I was able to get my Blue Seal, a business credential, using some of the programming that I had learned at Lakeland. It all tied together quite nicely.”
She says continuing to support and educate people in the trades is incredibly important to the province and country as a whole, and is excited that her role puts her in a position to continue to advocate for trades education.
“The skilled trades are vital to our province. Tradespeople do so much for our economy and for Alberta as a whole. The trajectory of my career has been to promote apprenticeship not just in my own trade, but all the trades in the province. It’s so important for us to continue to value the skilled trades, promote them and help educate people about what the trades are and what great opportunities there are here.”
Bevan’s journey came full circle in December when she was able to visit Lakeland as the chair of the Apprenticeship & Industry Training Board. She met with some of Lakeland’s trades faculty as well as students, who were finishing up their exams.
“The students seemed so appreciative of the things they were learning,” Bevan says. “I believe Lakeland is a leader in Canada for the training that they do. In any education, there has to be a practical component that allows you to take what you’ve learned and apply it, especially when you’re applying it in an environment that is willing to teach you and support you in your development, like Lakeland. That’s very critical.”
The one piece of advice Bevan has is to keep on learning.
“Learning doesn’t stop when you finish college. You need to be open to possibilities. Be a lifelong learner and it will benefit you in so many ways. Don’t be afraid to forge your own path and design your own life. Great things will happen – and Lakeland College is a great foundation for that.”
As for her dream of owning her own horse operation, Bevan’s work as a boilermaker allowed her to purchase her first acreage in 1999, giving her a home for her horses. She currently has a 65-acre hobby farm in the Tofield area with 10 horses and a donkey.
“We do very much enjoy having the horses,” Bevan says. “I honestly can’t see me ever not being involved with horses in one way or another.”