BCIT Level 4 Machinist alumna Jazmine Morrison was 13-years-old when she and her mother moved from Gitxsan nation in Northern BC to Vancouver so her mom could pursue a career as a career counsellor. Jazmine later had her son Ethan in 2010 and moved to Alberta for a year in 2013. After a tumultuous relationship in Alberta, Jazmine wanted a better future for herself and her son. With only one suitcase and a backpack full of clothes, Jazmine and her son moved back to Vancouver and slept on an air mattress in her mother’s apartment while Jazmine figured out her next steps.
ACCESS helps pave the path for a future career in machinery
The Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) is one of the most comprehensive Indigenous training providers in Canada. It offers a variety of employment and training programs and services to Indigenous people living in Greater Vancouver. As Jazmine’s mother worked as a Career Counsellor at ACCESS, she heard many success stories from clients graduating from BCIT and encouraged Jazmine to apply for a program with BCIT.
“My mom told me really good things about BCIT. Based on her experience with her ACCESS clients, she said that BCIT was very thorough in their teaching and that I would receive a great education,” Jazmine recalls. Her mother’s colleague suggested that the Machinist program might be a good fit for Jazmine.
With support from ACCESS, Jazmine applied to the Machinist program and successfully received a scholarship for admission. Throughout Jazmine’s training at BCIT, ACCESS continued to support her with financial aid and resources for tutoring.
Balancing life as a full-time student and a single mom
Being a full-time student and a single mom was filled with challenges. “Trying to balance time between studying and taking care of my son was difficult. I had to study, but also make sure that I fed him, took care of him, gave him attention – make sure he had everything. It was hard but I got through it with the support of my family.”
In Jazmine’s third year at BCIT, she became pregnant with her second son. With determination and resilience, Jazmine successfully completed her third year and gave birth to Matteo in 2017.
The series of challenges that Jazmine encountered during her time at BCIT did not stop. In her fourth and final year at BCIT, Jazmine’s grandfather was diagnosed with COVID-19. It was a very stressful period for her but with her positivity and perseverance, she successfully balanced studying, being a mom, and caring for her grandpa. “My last semester was nothing like I would have expected. I’m really glad that my grandpa recovered from COVID-19 and that I was able to finish my program.”
BCIT is like an onion with many layers
Apart from her struggles in balancing motherhood and studying, Jazmine speaks fondly of her time at BCIT. “My instructors were very hands on. Marty, Carl, Andy, Thomas, just to name a few. No question was a stupid question to them,” Jazmine says. In addition, Jazmine made some friends with students in other cohorts, who still keep in touch.
Jazmine has a great analogy to compare her time as a BCIT student. “There was a lot of homework, so be prepared to study a lot and read your material thoroughly. Think of an onion… you can’t go right to the center. You have to peel all the layers and understand each layer before getting to the middle,” Jazmine says.
Looking back, Jazmine never imagined that she’d be a machinist but is thrilled to have chosen this path. While working with her hands is what she loves about her job, she finds it most rewarding to be a role model for her children and to teach them that education and perseverance pays off.
A stable future ahead
Jazmine currently works at Pacific Bolt Manufacturing Ltd. in Langley, where she has been for the past six years. “It is a great company, they are like my family, my home away from home”. She is also waiting to challenge the ITA exam for her Red Seal ticket. As for advice to anyone considering the BCIT Machinist program, Jazmine offers the following advice, “Pay attention to what your instructors say. You will remember these things when you start working. Make sure you study a lot and put in all of your effort. It will pay off.”