Preparing for World Skills One Weld at a Time

Preparing for World Skills One Weld at a Time

The World Skills Compe­tition is underway in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and 2014 Skills Canada Nationals welding gold medalist Tommy St. Mar­tin has not been taking much time off to hone his skills. The Quebec native who is only 19 said he has been preparing for the big show since capturing gold in Toronto, Ontario.

“I’ve been working very hard with my teacher to increase my welding technique,” he said.

For the welding and fitting stu­dent, it’s all about prepara­tion. Leading up to World Skills, he has spent count­less hours striking an arc and working on the finer details to refine his skills.

“I’ve been training extensively. I’m work­ing on steel, aluminum and stainless,” he said. “There were a lot of long hours making sure I got it right, but I had a lot of fun, I learned a lot.”

Being called on stage to accept the gold medal in 2014 was a thrilling moment for the young welder, and it was a clear indication of the dedication he put into his work leading up to the competition.

“It felt great winning the competition. It gave me three times the confidence I had and I’m look­ing forward to competing at the Worlds,” he said. “There’s going to be great welders there from all over the world – the event is going to be very intense.”

Because St. Martin made it to the podium at the Skills Nationals event, he was presented with a Canadian Welding Association branded auto-darkening welding helmet that was donated by the Canadian Welding Asso­ciation Foundation (CWA Foundation).

In addition, the CWA Foundation contributed $10,000 for Tommy’s training leading up to the World Skills Competi­tion and stipend of $1,500 a month for five months to off­set his wage loss for training.

“It’s nice and it will work well and is very comfortable,” he said. “I would like to thank the CWA Foundation for their support. This means a lot to me and I’m very grateful.”

For St. Martin, welding is his escape and he enjoys all as­pects of the trade.

“I really like welding because it involves managing a proj­ect from the beginning, starting from drawing to welding and giving it the final touches to make it look nice,” he said. “I really enjoy all the fabrication aspects of a project.”

As St. Martin continues to hone his welding skills, he also has aspirations to own his own welding business while maturing as a welder with a goal to obtain his Red Seal certification. He’s also eager to rep­resent Canada at the World Skills competition in August.

“It’s a big weight to carry. I feel I have pressure and it’s a very unique feeling. I’m very ex­cited for the opportunity.”

The 19-year-old credits a close friend for his success. “Without my best friend Alex Roy, I wouldn’t be here today,” he said. “He pushed me and encouraged me to do the best I could. He’s a big reason why I’m going to Brazil.”

Deborah Mates, Executive Director of the CWA Foundation, said assisting Tom­my so he could excel at the World Skills Competition in Brazil while representing Canada is part of the CWA Foundation’s core mandates.

“Supporting the next generation of weld­ing professions is one of our main objectives,” she said. “Whether on the world stage like Tommy, or at the high school level, we are completely behind this industry and will to our utmost so see individuals succeed. I truly wish Tommy the best at the competition. I know how hard he’s trained, and his passion for welding is unmatched. As a country, we sure are sending our best welder to Sao Pau­lo.”