Alumna combines passion for horses and trades

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January 27, 2020
j'Amey Bevan’s journey from a downtown Vancouver city girl to the chair of the Government of Alberta’s Apprenticeship & Industry Training Board is a complex one.
j'Amey Bevan
She charted her own course, blending her love for the trades with her love of horses. Her first step on that journey was Lakeland College.
A city girl from downtown Vancouver with a passion for horses, the Class of 1997 alumna came to Lakeland in the 1990s to learn more about horsemanship, an industry she had very little experience in. It was cost-prohibitive for her to have access to horses in Vancouver, but she had always been fascinated by them and had a dream to own a farm with pastureland and her own horses. It was that dream that brought her to Lakeland and the former western horsemanship program, which ​is now the equine major the animal science technology diploma program.

“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.”
Photos: (Top) j'Amey Bevan with her horses Diablo and Walker. (Bottom) Bevan has ​been a boilermaker for over 20 years.
What Students Say
With the Student-Managed Farm you learn to be accountable for what you’re doing and the choices you make. You get an understanding of what it’s like to be out in industry or on a farm making decisions that count.

– Anthony Biglieni

Agribusiness Class of 2006

What Alumni Say
Lakeland College has been a integral partner in growing our own through the school of business. As an alumnus of the college, I have first-hand learning experience in the school of business. The professors welcome Servus Credit Union to facilitate classes in the Business Ethics course each year.

– Sandi Unruh

Senior Human Resources Consultant

What Faculty & Staff Say
Vertex has had great experience bringing on students from Lakeland College. We have found the Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Management) program to provide students with good academic knowledge of the environmental industry and the criteria that governs the land reclamation

– Sean Fuller B.Sc., P.Ag.

Vice President, Environmental Services, Vertex.

What Alumni Say
There is no way I would be where I am today without Lakeland College. It inspired me to be a better person and to get a job in something I love doing. I am so thankful I had such a great experience at Lakeland and I hope future students do as well.

– Danielle Gaboury

Business studies, Class of 2016.

What Students Say
I recommend the UT program to people all the time. The smaller setting Lakeland offers, is very conducive to learning. It's less intimidating than the larger universities and allows for more class interactions and discussions

– Kelly Mykytuk

2nd year UT student, 2017-18

What Alumni Say
Choosing to attend Lakeland College was one of the best decisions that I’ve made in my life so far. The welcoming and friendly Lakeland environment encourages a place of excellence, and fosters the ability to be successful not only in school, but in life.

– Mariah Van’t Hof

University Transfer, Class of 2015

What Alumni Say
I have loved my experience at Lakeland. The teachers are personable, and quick to share about their own experiences. They encouraged me to run with my own ideas and see what would happen; they got excited about my designs, which gave me the confidence to do my best and be more creative.

– Payton Ramstead

Class of 2016, Interior Design student.

What Alumni Say
At Lakeland College you are guaranteed to have time out of the classroom where you can put everything you learned together and actually see that what you’re learning is relevant.

– Alisa Brace

Animal Health Technology, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The friendships I made, the experiences we were provided with, and the welcoming atmosphere of the Vermilion Campus made my time at Lakeland extremely valuable and memorable

– Grayden Kay

Animal Science & Agribusiness, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
Lakeland College was a learning environment unlike any other school. It allows students to learn beyond the classroom, and staff and faculty genuinely want to see students succeed. It’s a place where you can feel comfortable asking questions and where everyone has a place and fits in.

– Carson Reid

Agribusiness, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The instructors were the highlight of my time at Lakeland. It made a huge impact on my college experience to have instructors who challenged, encouraged, and believed in me.

– Jessica Cadrain

Child & Youth Care, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
At the beginning of my first year, I was really stressed out as I felt I had no artistic ability. But with the instruction and time put in by the interior design faculty, I was able to develop my artistic abilities. Now I am fully confident in and exceeding well in the artistic side of this career!

– Naomi Mason

Interior Design Technology, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I just feel like you get the best education at Lakeland, especially from the time that the instructors can actually spend with you. I like the class sizes too – everything’s been great about my Lakeland experience.

– Dean Coulson

Heavy Equipment Technician, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I do give Lakeland College credit for reigniting my interest and even preparing me for Miss Rodeo Canada. Lakeland helped me to grow enough to have the confidence to think I could take on that role and become that person. I think that I have and I am really grateful for that

– Ali Mullin

Agribusiness, class of 2014, former Miss Rodeo Canada.

What Alumni Say
I feel the professors at Lakeland actually prepared me for the profession. It’s impossible to be just a number here when there are 12 students in all of your classes. When the school advertised small class sizes, they actually meant it.

– Stephen Mark Visser

Real Estate Appraisal and Assessment, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I was involved in the president’s gala in April where I was an emcee for the evening, it was a great experience, and I had a lot of fun doing it and would recommend it to everyone.”

– Lucas Tetreault

HOPE Power Engineering, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
I would recommend Lakeland College for the simple fact that it's for everybody. As a mature student who went back to school much later than his 18th year, I was immediately accepted, and not ostracized in the least

– Donald James Shaw

Accounting Major, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
All the hands-on learning was great and very helpful once placed into the industry. Having clients leave with a smile after each service assured me that I was in the right field of work. I would recommend Lakeland to anyone.

– Courtnee Coolidge

Esthetician, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The professors care so much about their students at Lakeland and are able to know each and every one of them by name, so much so that they are able to nominate a ton of students for awards.

– Stephanie Wakefeild

University Transfer, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
They really put you in the lead at Lakeland. Lakeland cares about its students, empowers them, and gives them opportunities to achieve their goals. I don’t see Lakeland as a stepping stone or a first step – I see it as a bridge and an integral part of my education.

– Alyssa Wells

University Transfer, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
I wanted to get experience in the field of assessment as it would give me exposure to what it’s like day to day. It was an invaluable experience as I find it hard to imagine what it would be like working in a particular field or area until I’m doing the work.

– Sheldon Farrell

Real estate appraisal and assessment, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
In the campus spa, they give you time to work with each client so nothing is rushed and you’re able to concentrate on providing the best service you can to your client.

– Daphney Couturier

Esthetician, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
It’s going to be a lot easier to start our first jobs having this experience and having been able to build our confidence in the campus spa. I love that we get to have this opportunity.

– Darby Watchel

Esthetician, Class of 2017.

What Employers Say
Lakeland is a great place to find employees. The college provides real world training that equips soon-to-be employees with knowledge and people skills that are highly sought after in the agriculture industry these days.

– Dustin Dinwoodie

Key Account Manager – Western Canada Arysta LifeScience

What Alumni Say
The hands-on field trips, quality of education i received, professors who are invested in your success, and all the friends I made. I exceeded my academic expectations and I also had a lot of fun. If i had to do it all over gain, i would choose Lakeland!

– Nicole (Audet) Pysh

Class of 2006, Environmental Protection & Class of 2008, Applied Environmental Degree