Breaking Down Barriers for Aspiring Welding Professionals

A partnership with the District School Board of Niagara and Grimsby Secondary School

Breaking Down Barriers for Aspiring Welding Professionals

Barriers shouldn’t determine one’s success, and it shouldn’t be a hindrance for someone to pursue higher education, but in some circumstances, obstacles do exist and the Canadian Welding As­sociation Foundation (CWA Foundation) helps aspiring welding professionals to mitigate some hurdles they endure.

Recently, the CWA Foundation partnered with the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) and Grimsby Secondary School to assist with the development of their Adult Welding Certificate Program by providing $6,000 for much needed tools.

“Working collaboratively with dedicated school boards is always a rewarding experience,” said Deborah Mates, Executive Director of the CWA Foundation. “These types of programs make a positive impact on people’s lives because they are geared towards reach­ing successful outcomes. I’m looking forward to further working with DSBN to mitigate the Canadian welding labour shortage and assist them to expand on their welding initiatives.”

The CWA Foundation and the Canadian Welding Association (CWA) jointly hosted a one-day, hands-on welding educational session at the CWB Group’s headquarters in Milton, Ontario for 20 participants of the Adult Welding Certificate Program to high­light various welding opportunities, welding processes and the CWA Foundation’s awards program.

Stephen Fluri, 21, from St. Catharines, said welding offers an es­cape from the outside world.

“When you’re welding you’re in the zone and you perform the task to the best of your abilities,” he said. “It’s an interesting feel­ing of both adrenaline and self-pride. This hands on session was great – I learned a lot about the welding profession that I never knew before. The CWA Foundation has been very helpful.”

The 21-year-old elaborated on how he sees his welding career evolving once he gets qualified and completes his apprenticeship.

“My goal is to get as many CWB and pressure vessel qualifica­tions,” he said. “I want to explore all avenues – structural, pipe­lines and large scale manufacturing. I think it would be interesting to weld large windmills. That’s the thing with welding, there are so many opportunities.”

Will Smith, 31, also of St. Catharine’s, enjoyed the learning expe­rience and wants to pursue welding.

“In the beginning there were some challenges, mainly getting used to the equipment, but now it’s easier and I’m having a lot of fun welding,” he said. “I really enjoy the creative side of weld­ing. There’s a lot of interesting things that can be created by fus­ing metal. My goal is to find an apprenticeship, get better at TIG welding and find my niche in the industry. Through this one-day session, I learned a lot about how extensive welding actually is. There’s more to it than just someone running a bead in a shop. It’s very interesting. Friction stir welding is really intriguing.”

Grimsby High School Welding instructor Bill Meloche said the funds from the CWA Foundation will assist their welding program immensely, and the support is greatly appreciated.

“Welding programs require a significant budget and we’re thank­ful for this support by the CWA Foundation,” he said. “We’re also grateful for this one day welding session. We all learned a lot and it opened the eyes of the group and the opportunities in the welding profession.”