Inside the Bruce Power nuclear plant near Kincardine, Ont. Click image to enlargeThe CWB Welding Foundation, Bruce Power, Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB), Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board (BGCDSB) and UA Canada are partnering to help local youth access apprenticeships and careers.

This collaboration will enhance welding education for secondary school students, forge pathways to good jobs in the welding trade, and develop the skilled welders to fulfill Bruce Power’s future workforce needs.

“The CWB Welding Foundation has a track record for successfully facilitating partnerships with industry and education to ignite students’ interest in welding as a career and get them prepared for rewarding and in-demand jobs,” said Susan Crowley, Executive Director of the CWB Welding Foundation. “We are proud to be working with Bruce Power, BWDSB, BGCDSB and UA Canada to make a real difference with area students, the local economy and Ontario’s nuclear industry.”

In this year alone, the project will benefit more than 650 students from the seven participating schools: Owen Sound District Secondary School (Owen Sound), Walkerton District Community School (Walkerton), Kincardine District Senior School (Kincardine), John Diefenbaker Senior School (Hanover), Sacred Heart High School (Walkerton), Saugeen District Senior School (Port Elgin) and St. Mary’s High School (Owen Sound).

“At Bruce Power, we have been actively working with our industry, union and education partners to increase the supply of high-demand trades in our region,” said Cathy Sprague, Bruce Power’s Executive Vice President, Human Resources. “Bruce Power’s Life-Extension Program is a long-term investment in our nuclear fleet and will provide quality jobs for high-skilled workers for decades to come.”

Work is underway to upgrade and modernize welding instruction facilities at the participating schools, which will receive welding materials and consumables for project work, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) for a safe learning experience while following necessary COVID-19 measures. The upgrades are on track to be completed in December 2020.

Four of the seven schools will be receiving industry-grade multi-process welding machines. This will give welding students the opportunity to get hands-on experience and potentially enter an apprenticeship with a specialized welding industry qualification upon graduation from secondary school.

“UA Canada is very excited to participate in this collaboration agreement to provide students a pathway to a future in the welding field,” said Ray Lemieux, Training Specialist-Welding, UA Canada. “UA Local 527 has three completely outfitted Welding and Pipe Trades training center locations in Southwestern Ontario, that will be opening their doors to provide necessary theory and practical training and a much clearer pathway for these students as they progress through high school and into welding apprenticeships or other welding related fields. This partnership can provide high school students with real work opportunity and even credit towards an Apprenticeship even before they leave school, with a possible future as a welder with their schools’ support and guidance along the way.”

Some students will have access to UA Canada and Local 527’s expert trainers 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. The collaboration represents a total investment of more than $270,000 (cash and in-kind contributions).

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