Welding education at four Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB) schools is about to get a major boost from a high-powered industry partnership.
The CWB Welding Foundation is teaming up with Ontario Power Generation (OPG), UA Canada and Black & McDonald to build career possibilities by enhancing welding education at the four DCDSB secondary schools, helping students build skills to prepare them for good jobs in the welding trade, and to develop the skilled welders required to fulfill OPG’s workforce needs.
“Ontario is investing in the Bruce and Darlington nuclear generating stations, which means the need for skilled welders will increase. This partnership will help to address that need while sparking local career possibilities,” said Susan Crowley, executive director of the CWB Welding Foundation.
The project is expected to benefit more than 300 students in 2021, from the four participating schools: St. Mary Catholic Secondary School (Pickering), Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School (Oshawa), Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School (Whitby) and Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School (Ajax).
“Welding is a key skill used by many apprentices and journey people in the skilled trades,” said Tracy Barill, director of education at DCBSD. “Our Board is pleased to expose students to welding and offer them opportunities to explore careers in the Trades. We are extremely thankful for this partnership and the chance to spark a passion for welding in our secondary students.”
The schools are being outfitted with a total of 21 state-of-the-art welding booths with brand-new industry-grade ventilation and 3-1 multi-process welding machines. Along with these major upgrades, each of the schools will be provided with 50 auto-darkening helmets, welding jackets, gloves and other personal protective equipment essentials.
“At OPG, we are well aware of the current and pending demand for skilled tradespeople,” said Helen Viveiros, an OPG project manager. “We know welding is one of the highest demand trades in the province, and that skilled welders will be needed for OPG projects now and in the future. That’s why it’s critical to support students as they learn more about this in-demand career.”
Some students will have access to expert trainers from UA Canada Local 46 and Local 401 in a virtual orientation day and a customized 30-hour training program. Students with a promising aptitude for welding will be identified and potentially offered apprenticeships, as well as pathways to employment.
Black & McDonald, an integrated, multi-trade service provider, is also supporting this project.
The Canadian welding and fabrication industry is experiencing a shortage of welding professionals, due to an aging Canadian population, a lack of young people being attracted to the skilled trades and the reduced focus on skilled trades training in secondary and post-secondary institutions. Nuclear power, shipbuilding, oil and gas, manufacturing and other sectors are acting now by partnering with the CWB Welding Foundation, education and other not-for-profit organizations to address the skills shortage and skills mismatch and build the welding workforce of the future.