Filling the pressure welder supply gap

By Mary Ranjibar

The CWB Welding Foundation, CWB Group, and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers/Boilermaker's National Training Trust Fund (IBB/NTTF) partnered to develop a comprehensive, eight-week pressure welding training program called Filling the Gap – Advanced Pressure Welder Training. With $6.6 million in funding from Employment and Social Development Canada, the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) is expected to support 450 participants in five years.

The project has mobilized the significant strengths of all partners—the technical leadership, industry insight, and national presence of the IBB/NTTF; the knowledge and experience of the 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 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.

How It Works

Our training was developed to support the career progression of apprentices and address the shortage of pressure welders in Canada. Students were given access to industry professionals with unparalleled knowledge and technical training to improve job readiness and upskilling of welders.

Program participants learn in-demand pressure welding processes and techniques, achieve a series of practical competencies, and receive multiple pressure welding qualifications that enable them to be job-ready to meet current and future industry needs. Some of those qualifications are:

  1. CWB four-position welding ticket—flat, overhead, vertical, and horizontal
  2. Initial Pressure Welding ticket
  3. Carbon: 2-in. Sch. 160-6G stick or TIG
  4. Stainless: TIG root, stick (fill and cap) – 2-in. Sch. 160-6G
  5. INCONEL: 2-in. Sch. 160 TIG root, stick fill and cap 6G
  6. 9 Chrome Steel: 2- or 4-in. TIG all out 6G

In the first year of this project, five training sessions were hosted at various locations across Canada. Through this comprehensive, eight-week training, students worked with highly skilled instructors to gain valuable and relevant welding skills that would increase their employment opportunities.

Results

In the first year, 98 per cent of the participants (47 students) successfully completed the training, and within days of completing the program, over 60 per cent of those individuals were gainfully employed.

Doug Munch, master instructor, taught the initial pilot training program at the IBB Lodge in Edmonton. He shared his experience with us, stating that "the pressure welding pilot course was extremely successful, as it provided highly skilled tradespeople to our industry. It was a privilege to be a part of this project. We are very proud of the welders’ and apprentices' accomplishments from the course."

The Way Forward

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. This is what the Filling the Gap initiative aims to provide the industry: a joint national curriculum to support the career progression of apprentices and train skilled journeypersons to upgrade their existing skills by equipping them with the knowledge and competencies needed to thrive in the Canadian trades landscape.

"There is a moment with each student when theory, concept, and hours of repetition in their welding booth all come together. I call it the ‘aha!’ moment. The lights come on; it all makes sense. It is that look of acknowledgement and the smile they give me that makes it all worthwhile. This is the point where I know we were successful," shared Jared Bradley, weld centre co-ordinator and examiner.

Student Response

With endless resources at their disposal, including highly knowledgeable instructors, it's not just the instructors who were impressed with our program. Participants thoroughly enjoyed the training and learned valuable pressure welding skills to kick-start their careers. Most were able to obtain multiple certifications, which will boost their employability in the industry.

As seen on Canadian Metalworking: https://www.canadianmetalworking.com/canadianfabricatingandwelding/blog/welding/filling-the-pressure-welder-supply-gap