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Sparks fly as young welders get head start

July 18, 2016 11:50 A.M.
(Canadian Welding Association)


Eighteen kids aged 12-15 will get their first taste of the welding trade through a free camp at TRU’s school of trades and technology this week.

Welding is one of the most highly demanded trades with shortages in some regions due to retirees leaving the field. The Canadian Welding Association started its first pilot summer camp project two years ago in Edmonton and is introducing 35 such camps across Canada this summer.

Instructor Jim McCarthy has worked in the welding trade for 47 years since he was 15 years old.

“I will be introducing the 18 students to working safely in a shop environment, how to MIG weld, and how to heat, twist, and form metal,” said McCarthy. “As an instructor, it’s always satisfying to see a student’s project come to a successful completion through their hard work and dedication.”  

“The goal for me is to pass on my skills to the next generation,” he added. “I gained my skills from my elders and mentors in the workplace and I feel very strongly that I must carry on the tradition of my trade’s guild, and of this incredible trade of fabrication, welding, and art creation.”

 Welding safety, gas metal arc welding (GMAW), introduction to weld symbols, and a brief overview of the impact welding has on our daily lives will be part of the camp. Once the theoretical part is completed, students will practice on the welding simulator and then have fun with real arcs and sparks while they create their very own projects like cowbells and business card holders.

CWA Foundation Executive Director Deborah Mates said the camp is transformative for most participants.

“It’s going to open up a lot of possibilities to the students because this is such a unique opportunity. It’s going to be hands-on and fun so when they finish they’ll have great memories and hopefully feel inspired to pursue a career in the welding profession,” said Mates. “We are excited to be able to bring this opportunity to the provinces and expose youth to something they may never have imagined.”

Support from industry, parents and TRU School of Trades and Technology-Kamloops is remarkable, she added.


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