World Skills Welding Competitor Thankful for CWA Foundation Support

World Skills Welding Competitor Thankful for CWA Foundation Support

Stepping onto the world stage during World Skills in Sao Paulo, Brazil and welding against the best of the best from around the globe was a moment Quebec native and 2014 Skills Canada Nationals welding gold medalist Tommy St. Martin will never forget.

“Going into the welding booth and competing against the best in the world was an adrenaline rush,” said Tommy. “The experience was great. The quality of welders was great. Once I put aside where I was and its magnitude, I was locked in and ready to compete.”

The young welder from Norte-Dame-des-Prairies, Quebec didn’t finish on the podium, but his talents earned him the Medallion of Excellence.

Preparation leading up to the World Skills was extensive and Tommy practiced for hours striking an arc and working on different types of metals to hone his skills.

 

“The training was extensive,” he said. “I worked on steel, aluminum and stainless. There were a lot of long hours making sure I got it right, but I had a lot of fun, I learned a lot.”

Tommy also received a lot of support not only from his coaches and mentors, but the Canadian Welding Association Foundation (CWA Foundation) supported the young welder leading up to the World Skills by contributing $10,000 for his training and a monthly stipend for five months of $1,500 to offset his wage loss for training.

“All of this couldn’t be possible without the support of the CWA Foundation,” he said. “I truly appreciate everything they did for me. I had no idea any of this was going to happen, when I found out, it was very uplifting. I’m always going to be grateful.”

For Tommy, welding is his escape and he enjoys all aspects of the profession.

“Welding is a lot of fun because it involves managing a project from the beginning, starting from drawing to welding and giving it the final touches to make it complete,” he said. “I really enjoy all the fabrication aspects of a project.”

Tommy said he will continue to hone his welding skills while continuing striving to and become a welding business owner, but in the meantime, he’s eager to obtain his Red Seal certification.

“There is so much to learn in welding,” he said. I’m just thankful I have the opportunity to learn and experience as much as I can. It’s a lot of fun.”

Going to Brazil to represent his country and a craft he enjoys wouldn’t have been possible without a close friend’s advice and guidance.

“Without my best friend Alex Roy, I don’t know what the outcome would have been,” he said. “He pushed me and encouraged me to do the best I could. He’s a big reason why I was able to represent Canada.”

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 core of the CWA Foundation.

“Supporting the next generation of welding professions is one of our main objectives,” she said. “Whether on the world stage like what Tommy did, or at the high school level, we are completely behind this industry and will to our utmost individuals succeed. Tommy was a true competitor, I know how hard he trained, and his passion for welding is unmatched. As a country, we sure sent our best welder to Sao Paulo, not only in skill but character as well.”