VIU Summer Welding Camp to Spark Interest in Youth for Trade

Youth enrolled in the Mind Over Metal Summer Camp supported by the Canadian Welding Association in August at the VIU Cowichan Trades Centre will learn about a career that may be a possible future career. VIU Welding student Clayton Norris, shown here, practices skills he's learned in the program.

July 21, 2015 - 10:15am

Young students considering a future career in the welding trade and apprentices working through certification will benefit from a significant donation to Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) Welding program.

The Canadian Welding Association (CWA) Foundation has donated $25,000 to VIU’s Cowichan Trades Centre to install four new welding booths to be used in testing for apprentices. As well, the CWA is contributing $10,000 to fund a summer welding camp August 24 to 28 for youth aged 12 to 15.

The “Mind Over Metal Summer Camp” is offered by the CWA in various cities across Canada, and is the first offered on Vancouver Island, said Welding chair Mike Hallam, noting that the camp is full with a waiting list.

“We’re trying to reach students as they go into middle school or secondary school, to get them thinking about taking metal work in high school or a metal related trade in high school,” Hallam said, adding the summer camp program is offered in partnership with School District 79.

The camp is fully funded, covering costs that include breakfasts and lunches, equipment and materials, bussing to and from the site, and all instruction and full supervision. The youth attending the camp will learn welding safety, Gas Metal Arc Welding, an introduction to welding symbols, and a brief overview of the impact welding has on our daily lives. Once the theoretical part is completed, the students will have a chance to practice welding and have some fun with real arcs and sparks.

“It’s a try-a-trade experience in welding for elementary and middle school age kids,” Hallam said, adding Cowichan Valley schools have offered similar hands-on trades experiences for elementary age children in woodwork, drywall, electrical, plumbing and carpentry with support from the school district.

“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 Deborah Mates, director of the CWA Foundation.

Students in the summer welding camp who discover they enjoy the trade may be eligible to take part in the dual credit program offered by School District 79 and VIU, which involves registering in their senior high school years to learn welding while completing high school.

Hallam said 31 dual credit students were registered in three welding classes in the last school year.

Students who have completed their post-secondary welding programs at VIU and other Canadian trades training institutions, and who are working on or maintaining their Red Seal accreditation, will now be able to complete their testing at VIU’s Cowichan Trades Centre.

With the CWA donation, VIU Cowichan becomes a testing agency under the Canadian Welding Bureau.

“Every two years apprentices have to be retested for the CWB,” Hallam said. “Welding is the most tested trade ongoing -- after you graduate you’re tested on a regular basis.”

VIU’s Welding program has grown in size and number of students in the past year, he added, expanding from two classes to three, and with 200 potential students on a waiting list.



Media Contact

Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

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