The goggles came down for 18 local youngsters who got to take part in a week-long camp designed to introduce them to the welding trade.
The camp, Arc and Spark, which was developed and facilitated by the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) Welding Foundation in collaboration with Kitimat Valley Institute (KVI) and funded by LNG Canada, ran from March 25 to 29 at KVI.
The camp is part of an effort to build and sustain a highly skilled Canadian welding workforce.
“Funding Arc and Spark is part of LNG Canada’s long-term workforce development strategy to increase participation in trades training and address labour shortages,” said LNG Canada workforce development manager Tracey MacKinnon. LNG Canada is funding an additional six Arc and Spark camps that will be held throughout B.C. over the summer. KVI has been confirmed as one of the locations – the timing and locations of the other additional camps will be confirmed later this spring.
“LNG Canada is committed to focusing on youth participation in the trades so British Columbians can take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead as our project moves into construction,” said MacKinnon
“By introducing young people to trades training programs while they are still in school, we hope they will be left with a positive impression and consider pursuing trades certification when they graduate.”
The youngsters were taught about welding safety and gas metal arc welding. They were also given an introduction to weld symbols and a brief overview of the impact welding has on their daily lives.
Once the theoretical portion was completed the 18 youngsters aged between 11 and 17 years old were able to have fun putting their practical welding skills to the test creating their own projects.
CWB Welding Foundation executive director Susan Crowley said the camp is specifically designed to provide young people with a hands-on introduction to welding and inspire them to pursue a career in welding.
“Students build confidence and have fun while being supervised by professionals in a safe environment,” said Crowley. “Through experiential learning opportunities like the Arc and Spark welding camp, their newly sparked interest in welding may lead to further education and employment.”
Cultural awareness was an important aspect of the camp – Haisla elders visited the novice welders throughout the week to provide learnings and cultural context, connecting the projects that the students worked on to culture and their own identity.
“This course gave me an opportunity to explore the trade that I am highly interested in,” said Maddox Medeiros, a student of last year’s welding camp, and volunteer for the 2019 Arc and Spark. “The more hands-on experience I receive, the more prepared I feel for my future.”
The CWB Welding Foundation hosted its first welding camp in Edmonton in the summer of 2014, and to date has completed nearly 170 camps across Canada.