The welding industry in Canada requires more skilled pressure welders to fill the current skills gap and mismatch across the country. The CWB Welding Foundation, CWB Group, and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB) have been awarded a multi- million-dollar, five-year federal contract through the Employment and Social Development Canada - Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) for this purpose. This funding has been allocated to designing, developing, and implementing the “Filling the Gap - Pressure Welder Training Program,” helping upgrade apprentices and welders across Canada. An initial pilot training was hosted at the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Lodge 146 Edmonton Welding Centre in November and December of 2021, which was a resounding success.
The program addresses some of the current challenges in the welding industry, including skills shortages and mismatch, attrition, insufficient pressure welding skill development, financial barriers to upgrading skillsets, gender stereotypes and negative perceptions limiting women’s advancement, lack of support for indigenous apprentices, and impacts of COVID-19 to name a few. One of the best ways to prepare and enhance the success of the necessary supply of pressure welders across Canada is to provide specialized technical training and improve the current apprenticeship model to create a more job-ready pathway through innovative programming and upskilling of welders. CWB Group and the IBB will deliver the Filling the Gap - Pressure Welder Training Program, a joint national initiative to support the career progression of apprentices as well as training skilled journeypersons looking to upgrade their existing skills by equipping them with the knowledge and competencies highly sought after in Canadian welding industries.
This project will mobilize the significant strengths of all partners— the technical leadership, industry insight and national presence of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers/National Training Trust Fund (IBB/NTTF); the knowledge and experience of CWB Group and CWB Education in welding best practices and e-learning program platforms; the collaborative and partner-driven purpose of the CWB Welding Foundation; and the understanding and networks of partners who advocate for underrepresented groups in the skilled trades—to address several challenges that limit apprenticeship outcomes, specifically in the welding trade. This collaboration will rely on the use of innovative approaches and best practices through a personalized learning model for both new apprentices and journeypersons looking to upgrade their existing skills, which will subsequently en- sure that the welding industry has the necessary supply of pressure welders, which is a serious concern on a national level.
The ultimate deliverable of the Filling the Gap - Pressure Welder SPRING 2022 | 093 Training Program is delivering numerous eight-week training courses in the next five years to upgrade apprentices and welders across Canada with the key intentions of addressing some of the challenges limiting apprenticeship outcomes and improving the quality of pressure welding training. This comprehensive 8-week training is delivered through a combination of in-person sessions (both theoretical and practical) and online training at IBB training facilities and other publicly funded post-secondary training institutions. Participants will learn in-demand pressure welding processes and techniques and develop competencies to meet current, and future industry needs. With a personalized learning model and oversight from industry experts, apprentices and journeypersons are given a significant advantage in their educational journey.
The eight (8) week course ran with eight (8) students- two (2) apprentices and six (6) journeypersons. All eight (8) students successfully obtained at least one (1) Welding Certificate- with several students receiving multiple certifications. For example, seven (7) students received an Alberta Pressure Welding Certificate of Competency from ABSA (The Alberta Pressure Equipment Safety Authority), three (3) students passed their CWB SMAW S Classification, along with many other advanced pressure welding certifications. One participant was even able to secure a gainful employment opportunity with a reputable company within days of completing this training. The 8-week comprehensive Pressure Welding Pilot Training surpassed all expectations and is shaping up to be an industry benchmark of pressure welding education.
The Filling the Gap - Pressure Welder Training Program is currently being offered out of multiple sites across the country (AB, ON, NB), making it as readily available as possible for those interested in participating. The course is open for all journeyperson welders and 2nd or 3rd welding apprentices. It consists of in-class lessons that follow a comprehensive, newly developed Initial Pressure Qualification Guidebook , online learning, and hands-on instruction. Along with achieving welding certifications, students are also provided with financial assistance throughout this training to reduce some of the financial barriers they may be facing. Graduates of this program will have worked with highly skilled instructors to gain valuable and relevant skills that increase their employment opportunities.
Mary Ranjbar, Program Manager, Government Relations and Public Safety, CWB Group
For inquiries related to Filling the Gap- Pressure Welder Training please contact: FillingTheGap@cwbgroup.org
What attendees are saying about the program:
“... after passing the Pressure Welding test, I celebrated, even my whole family were in awe... I will admit, on my drive back, I broke down in tears, I was so happy, I couldn’t believe I did it... A good feeling, that’s for sure.”
“[the training] is amazing! Honestly, the teachers are really dedicated to helping us, they are always checking up on us in the booths, and if you ever have any questions, you can ask them... I am a visual, hands-on person, and they (the instructors) are there to show you physically how it’s got to be done and it helps me to visualize it an ask the questions I have.”
“I would 100% recommend this training to everyone, especially to the apprentices who just don’t have a lot of weld time... this [training] is a god- send to have this much shop time... you have the instructors to help you out, it is worth it for sure.”
NOTE: This program is developed jointly by the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers/Boilermaker’s National Training Trust Fund and CWB Group and is funded through the Employment and Social Development Canada- Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP).