In 2011, Kimberley Nippard’s life took on great change when she gave birth to her first son. Working as a sales representative, she was instantly determined to make a better life for herself and her son. “He was the greatest thing to ever happen in my life, and I knew I had to do better for him. I was working as a sales representative, but I knew I had to move further, to do better for Erik.”
Kimberley applied with WRDC for OTT (Orientation to Trades and Technology) when her son was three months old. An exciting, but scary process. Being a new mother of a child with special needs (a cleft palate, and suspected Pierre Robin syndrome), appointments had her calendar blocked weekly. “I was determined that I was able to somehow juggle a school schedule as well. I then received some unfortunate news. Upon review of my application, it was determined that I could not be approved for funding because I had a job to go back to, I was still on Maternity leave.”
Kimberley didn’t let this deter her and as she moved forward to gather information other avenues to obtain funding. She found out she could in fact obtain funding if her job were willing to put her back to just 20 hours a week for six consecutive months. “I racked my brain, trying to figure out how I could afford to support my child on such a low income. It was impossible. Disappointed, but not defeated, I put my plans on hold until I could find a way to afford life, and an education”.
“It’s funny the avenues that life takes you” says Kimberley. A single mother with only herself to depend on, and an upcoming return to work date pending, she had to re-evaluate her financial situation, to decide whether or not she could afford to run a household with a small baby, and pay a babysitter during work hours. Though she had worked since the age of 16 years, Kimberley realized with a pending surgery for her son approaching she had to do what she thought was best for the current situation.
“I decided to apply for social assistance. When Erik’s surgery and recovery were finished my heart and mind again turned to my education. I refused to be a statistic of being “Just another single mom in the system” I made the call to Shelley McCarthy [WRDC’s Career Development Coordinator in Corner Brook region] to re-apply for OTT.” This time the process would be much quicker and easier. In a few short weeks Kimberley received her acceptance letter and started the OTT program in May 2013.
“I went into the program with an open mind and a hopeful heart. Maybe this was my future dream job just waiting to be discovered” says Kimberley. After trying several different trades: Heavy Equipment Operator, Mobile Crane Operator, Construction/Industrial Electrician, Electronics Engineering, and Heavy Duty Mechanic, as well a number of presentations on different trades, and obtaining her safety certificate Kimberley was thrilled. “I felt like just in those 16 weeks I was paving a path for a great career, and a bright future for myself, and more importantly, my son. I applied for the Construction/Industrial Electrician program at the beginning of July, and got accepted for the September semester. While doing that component of the OTT program I was so happy running wires, and gaining new and useful knowledge that it just made sense that this was the trade I was meant to do. I felt at the end of the day like someone was taking my favorite toy from me, and couldn’t wait for the following day to begin work again”
Kimberley graduated in June of 2014 with honors designation. “I received the Fry Family Foundation Leadership award Scholarship in November 2013, and competed in the skills Canada competition, electrical component in April of 2014”.
“When people ask me what I’m doing in college I happily reply, ‘I’m studying to be an electrician.’ If it hadn’t been for Shelley’s help, and how easy WRDC made it for me to get into school, I wouldn’t be looking at the bright and hopeful future that I am today. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” says Kimberley.