Mind over Metal welding campsClick image to enlarge

TransCanada Corp. has partnered with the CWA Foundation to support the welding organization's Mind over Metal welding camps for students.

TransCanada will support welding camps in 14 schools in BC, Alberta and Ontario.

Mind over Metal welding campsClick image to enlarge

"Partnering with TransCanada is an amazing opportunity as together we can have a direct impact on the next generation of welders in Canada," says Deborah Mates, executive director of the CWA Foundation.

TransCanada was first introduced to the CWA Foundation during the 2016 Skills Canada competition.

"What is special about the Mind over Metal camps is that while learning to weld, students also learn some of the foundational skills required for any skilled trades," says Leanne LeBlanc, community partnership advisor, public affairs and communications for TransCanada Corp.

The Mind over Metal welding camps are designed for at-risk youth, 12 to 15 year olds. Mates says CWA Foundation targeted this age group because it's easier to engage students before they make decisions about what to take in high school.

"If we spark the interest early, they are more likely to want to take welding in high school."

CWA Foundation is working with high schools to ensure that students interested in welding have programs available at high schools in their communities.

"We are upgrading high school welding programs, creating new programs in high schools where a welding program does not exist and training high school teachers across Canada," says Mates.

LeBlanc adds that TransCanada decided to fund welding programs for youth because skilled trades are an important component of the company's business and local economies.

"Trades like pipefitting and welding are obviously major components of pipeline construction, but as a leading North American energy infrastructure company, we also work closely with local businesses that employ skilled tradesmen and woemn. With $24 million in short-term capital growth projects on the horizon, we know we are going to need local, skilled trades workers."

CWA Foundation has organized more than 100 Mind over Metal welding camps since the program began in 2014. Mates hopes to get more industry involvement with future welding camps.

"Our hope is that by 2020, 50 per cent of our camps will be supported by industry. This will enable us to grow the program and reach more students."

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