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From Fashion to Drilling, Rachel Bourne changes direction for job prospects


rachel-bourne-2Rachel Bourne will be graduating in June from the Resources Drilling Technician program– and she’s already working in her field!

Rachel, from Courtice, Ontario, had a goal of studying fashion at university when a comment she heard while attending a Fleming recruitment presentation at her high school made her change direction.

“When I heard how the Resources Drilling program is only available at Fleming College, grads are in extremely high demand and it pays very well, that caught my attention. I thought, ‘when I’m done, I’ll have a job,’” said Rachel.

Rachel did some research and decided to start with the Blasting Techniques program, which can be a pathway to Resources Drilling.

“I decided to spend a year in Blasting to see how it went and, if I liked it, I’d stay for the next year of Resources Drilling,” said Rachel.

One of only a few women in the class, Rachel didn’t let that stop her. “I’m assertive enough and I found that if you show the guys how you want to be treated, they respond well,” she added.

Rachel became Blasting Techniques Program President on the Frost Campus Student Association and found it a great way to make connections. She continued on to take Resources Drilling. “The program is really interesting and fun. There’s so many machines to work with and it’s really cool to have teachers who are from the industry. When they demonstrate how to do something it’s like an art to them,” she said.

rachel-bourne-blogRachel found that drilling is really creative work, there’s a variety of career directions to choose from, and lots of opportunity. “You have to problem-solve challenges, like how to manoeuvre this equipment that is worth thousands of dollars, going by feel and sound to drill hundreds of feet down. You may be drilling rock samples, doing environmental or geotechnical drilling, or for construction on big infrastructure projects where drilling is needed at the start of every job,” she said.

Rachel believes that there’s a need for more women in this industry and companies that are committed to diversity, but she recognizes that there is still bias that drilling is “a man’s world.” Not one to back down from a challenge, she’s out to prove that statement wrong.

Rachel was elected President of the Frost Student Association in her final year, and that leadership experience will serve her well. Her advice to other women considering the program is: “Don’t be afraid to do something just because it’s something men have always done.” She found it easy to get involved at Frost Campus because of its small size and recommends taking full advantage of that.  “Stay strong while you’re here, get help when you need it, and get connected,” Rachel advised.

Rachel was hired by Aardvark Drilling in Guelph, where she had done her field placement during the program. She’s happy that she’s being recognized for her hard work and not just because of her gender. “It’s a great starting point,” she said. “I’m doing geotechnical and environmental drilling, and taking a lot of my experience from the program with me.”