Exploring the profession of welding

It was all arcs and sparks for grade 7 and 8 students from Halton Hills Christian School’s Exploratories Program as they learned hands on experience in the trade of welding at the CWB Group’s headquarters in Milton, ON. The initiative was a partnership between the CWB Welding Foundation and HHCS.

“I’m going to be a welder when I grow up,” is how Harrison Hendriks foresees his future after spending six weeks learning proper safety procedures and striking an arc for the first time.

“I like welding, it’s fun,” said the 13-year-old Grade 8 student from Halton Hills Christian School (HHCS). “It’s hands-on and there are so many interesting things that can be created by welding.”

 Xander Bargis, 12, and a grade 7 student at HHCS also enjoyed his time learning the trade.

“I really liked that we made new things out of metal,” he said. “Because of this experience, I want to become an underwater welder.”

Although the students enjoyed striking an arc, they also tested their skills on a virtual welding simulator.

“That was really cool,” said thirteen-year-old Sean Steckley. “I really enjoyed learning the different techniques and how welding is used in so many ways.”

Deborah Mates, Executive Director of the CWB Welding Foundation was pleased that the students showed so much interest in welding.

“It’s always great to work collaboratively with schools and introduce welding to students, no matter what age,” she said. “These students really showed a lot of enthusiasm and interest towards welding – it was nice to see. Who knows, this may have sparked their interest to becoming the next generation of welding professionals in Canada.”

The six week course included basic concepts of Gas Metal Arc Welding (MIG), proper safety procedures, experimentation on a virtual welding simulator and a final project in which they were graded.

Mohamed Sookwa, Supervisor for Internal Training at the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB), was the instructor during the course and said the students showed a lot of interest and were eager to learn the trade, and their interested peaked when they finally started to fuse alloys.

“It was a lot of fun. These kids really enjoyed the course and every week their skills improved,” he said. “I have no doubt in my mind that these students have the potential to become this country’s next generation of welders if they desire to pursue welding as a career.”

Halton Hills Christian School’s Exploratories Program connects students to the community, preparing them with life and career skills, while they learn innovative and technological skills that stretch far beyond a classroom’s text books.

Willy Katerberg, Exploratories Coordinator, said it’s important for students to expand their horizons and learn beyond the classroom experience because it will have a profound impact on their future decisions in terms of choosing a career path. 

“Much authentic and relevant learning takes place outside of a school building,” he said. “Our Exploratories program for our grade 7 and 8 students is one way HHCS is moving outside of the boundaries of our school and connecting our students to the community. Our students hope to be given real tasks or jobs to complete which may be useful for the business and to the student.”