Free welding training is being offered to give 150 people a head start to work as welders, helping meet the needs of local companies hungry for workers.

The Workforce Planning Board will provide the program through its Skills2Advance Welding training arm, in partnership with the CWB Welding Foundation. Training will be delivered by four area colleges.

The two-week-long classes start in June and will be offered regularly over the next year. Participants will be recruited from Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit and Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk counties. Residents of Hamilton, Cambridge, Kitchener-Waterloo and Oxford County can also sign up.

Two-thirds of participants for the free welding training are expected to be women, a group that is underrepresented in the skilled trades. Only 10 per cent of welders in Grand Erie are female. There will also be opportunities for people who have a disability, youth, and other groups that are underrepresented in the trades.

Tremendous opportunity

“This is a tremendous opportunity for people to get started in the skilled trades with this high-demand occupation and start building their career,” said Danette Dalton, the planning board’s executive director. “We’re excited to work with the CWB Welding Foundation, area post-secondary schools and other community partners to give people the skills they need to succeed.”

People can find more information about the program by visiting www.skills2advance.com/welding

The CWB Welding Foundation has for years operated training programs for welders across Canada. Its Women of Steel program has trained hundreds of women since 2019, while its Mind Over Metal program has been in operation since 2014

The Women of Steel and Mind Over Metal curriculum will be delivered by instructors from Six Nations Polytechnic, Conestoga College, and Fanshawe College – Simcoe campus, using their welding shops. Mohawk College will provide training at its mobile classroom, which houses welding simulators in a truck trailer.

Minister of Labour

The one-year project is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

“With many tradespeople set to retire over the next decade, we need to do all we can to encourage people to consider careers in welding,” said Minister Monte McNaughton.

“Our government is proud to support this program, which will give future tradespeople, including women and people with disabilities, a head start in planning their careers, and help local employers find the workers they need to grow their business.”

It will include 30 hours of hands-on training, with the opportunity to obtain a CWB welding certification. Another 30 hours will focus on training in first aid, CPR, forklift and working at heights, and soft skills, such as problem-solving and workplace communications.

Free welding toolkit

Program participants will receive a free welding toolkit, which includes a welding helmet, and will be eligible to receive additional support to help cover other expenses, such as work boots.

When they graduate, participants will be assisted by local employment service agencies who will work with local businesses to offer on-the-job placements, which could lead to permanent positions.

“The goal is to find employment for participants, and we expect the program to be warmly received by employers,” Dalton said. “Welders are in demand, and that demand is expected to continue. We need to ensure there are new, eager workers entering the field.”

To learn more about job opportunities in welding, visit this page on Grand Erie Jobs: Welding careers

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