BACK IN ACTION: Getting back to business after COVID-19

We have been grateful to get back into action with our hands-on, experiential learning opportunities and programs for women and youth. As we strive to continue growing and offering the Introduction to Welding program and the Arx & Sparx programs, we look forward to reaching new individuals and providing them the same opportunities as those who have already participated this summer, and in years past.

The highlight of this summer for the CWB Welding Foundation was the ability to get back to delivering programs after a long hiatus due to COVID-19.  This summer we were able to deliver three Women of Steel, Introduction to Welding one-week programs in Ontario, as well as an Arx & Sparx Camp for youth in Smithers, British Columbia.   However, with some COVID-19 restrictions in place, this also meant some additional measures to ensure everyone’s safety.

Our Women of Steel - Introduction to Welding program is a five-day introduction to welding which includes training on one welding process, career awareness, introduction to local employers, guest speakers and more.   At the end of the week, the participants have the opportunity to attempt a CWB certification, typically the 47.1 Fillet Weld Test.   Thanks to our wonderful partners, we were able to run three programs, two at the CWB Milton facility and one in Tiverton in partnership with Fanshawe College.  A total of 34 women successfully completed these programs.

The two Introduction to Welding programs which ran at our Milton Facility took place in July 2021, both at full capacity.  The ladies who took part in the program were introduced to Flux-Core Welding at the hands of the lead instructor, Daniella Torelli.   Everyone enjoyed the week including the hands-on experience with welding as well as the wonderful guest speakers, Nicole LeClair, Welding Instructor from Mohawk College; Nikki Noble, Welding Instructor, Lambton College; Melissa Phelan, CWB Fabrication Technician/Robotics Programmer and Jackie Morris, Welding Technology Instructor, Conestoga College.

Fanshawe College hosted the third Introduction to Welding program this summer in Tiverton, Ontario.   Located on the shores of Lake Huron, the program was delivered at the Bruce Power Training Facility.   Twelve women from the area registered for the program and were taught SMAW welding by lead instructor, Jolene Denham.  Six of these ladies had signed up prior to the COVID-19 shut down so they were eager to get into the shop.  The Introduction to Welding program also encourages students to learn new skills and consider employment in welding and other related skilled trades.   This group of ladies were extremely positive, were eager to learn and practice the skills they learned.  Again, this group attempted the 47.1 Fillet Weld test with great success.  One of the participants has already signed up for Fanshawe College’s Welding Techniques program which started September 2021.      

Quotes from some of the program participants:

“It was perfect, and we should run more of these programs.”

“I am very grateful for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to my welding career.”

“The instructor was great! I loved her enthusiasm, the opportunity to learn with high end   equipment and meet other like-minded and inspiring women.”

Another program delivered this summer was the Indigenous focused Arx & Sparx program, in partnership with LNG Canada and Coastal Gas link in Smithers, BC.  The Arx & Sparx Camp is a program for youth 12-17 years of age with the goal of encouraging conversations and changing perceptions of welding and welding related careers with parents and youth.  Modelled after the Mind Over Metal hands-on camps, the Arx & Sparx program is delivered only in British Columbia right now and helps build confidence and self-esteem to encourage youth to pursue secondary and post-secondary welding education.    The Indigenous components of this camp promote cultural awareness, inclusion, and diversity in the industry at an early age. 

Located in the Bulkley Valley School District in Northern British Columbia, Smithers Secondary School is surrounded by beautiful mountains and was the host for this camp.   The school district includes the communities of Witset, Smithers, Telkwa, Quick and Houston.  Lead instructor, Gavin Scorer, organized the camp for the area and fourteen youth participated in the program that ran the last week of August. Students learned welding processes but also were able to work on projects that they could take home with them.

An Elder from the Wet’suwet’en community came in daily to speak to the students on different local cultural traditions and history.  Local Wet’suwet’en artist, Jolene Andrew also brought other cultural teachings to the camp by incorporating the use of local cultural symbols and taught the participants to work with copper for one of the camp projects.   The week ended with a celebration including awarding certificates to all participants and sharing of a traditional local feast at lunch.   

We have been grateful to get back into action with our hands-on, experiential learning opportunities and programs for women and youth. As we strive to continue growing and offering the Introduction to Welding program and the Arx & Sparx programs, we look forward to reaching new individuals and providing them the same opportunities as those who have already participated this summer, and in years past.

We invite you to stay in touch through our website and social media channels to learn about programs updates. If you are interested in learning more about how you can support these initiatives, please reach out to info@cwbweldingfoundation.org

www.cwbweldingfoundation.org 


Arx and Sparx program highlight featuring local Wet’suwet’en artist, Jolene Andrew 


Arx and Sparx program participant 


Arx and Sparx program participant


Women of Steel- Introduction to Welding Program- Tiverton, ON


Women of Steel- Introduction to Welding Program participants 


Women of Steel- Introduction to Welding Program participant, Milton ON


Women of Steel- Introduction to Welding Program group, Milton ON