Co-operative efforts and investments from Ontario School Board improve secondary welding education

Woman of Steel participant welding a T joint in the horizontal position using the Shielded Metal Arc welding process.

The CWB Welding Foundation is eager to ensure that secondary school welding educators are equipped with the tools needed to educate and engage their students

This professional development opportunity allows educators at the secondary education level a chance to improve and further develop the skills they have.

Co-operative Efforts and Investments from Ontario School Board Improve Secondary Welding Education

Over the past decade, the welding industry has been undergoing constant changes. Welding education professionals at the secondary school level are required to adapt to the developing new welding techniques, working with new equipment, and finding the best ways to communicate with their students. The CWB Welding Foundation is eager to ensure that secondary school welding educators are equipped with the tools needed to educate and engage their students and are offered the opportunity to continue developing their professional skills. To address this, CWB Welding Foundation created the program, Train the Trainer. This professional development opportunity allows educators at the secondary education level a chance to improve and further develop the skills they have. Teachers play an important role in educating, inspiring and encouraging students to pursue welding as a career in the future. However, they cannot do that if outdated knowledge and practices are being passed along.

By partnering with school boards across Canada, CWB Welding Foundation is able to work with more educators to provide training on many key skills that should be known when working in a welding lab. This may include fundamental math and science theory that would be applied when operating the welding machines, lab safety, and best practices to use when welding.

Training Support

Recently, the CWB Welding Foundation partnered with the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board (PVNCCDSB) to deliver training sessions in June 2017 and June 2018. CWB Welding Foundation hosted two, two-day sessions to allow staff from six different schools within the school board to be trained by our wonderful trainers that work with the CWB Welding Foundation. The 12 educators that attended the training worked alongside Joshua Fortin, a CWB Welding Foundation Training & Technical Outreach Officer, and Alex Duketow, a Student Success Consultant at PVNCCDSB. Both are extremely talented teachers who work diligently to ensure success among the educators.

The first session was in June 2017, held at Fleming College’s welding lab. The educators learned the importance of safety when handing welding equipment, how to properly set the current, and tips for making passes when welding. The training session was focused on the shield metal arc welding (“SMAW”) process.

The second session was hosted by St. Peters Catholic Secondary School, in June 2018, and continued to train the educators in gas metal arc welding (“GMAW”) processes.

In June 2019, 10 educators committed to four Wednesday evening training classes in order to prepare for their welding certification test at the end of the month. The educators organized these evening classes on their own initiative to further excel their skills and understanding. Alex Duketow, a Student Success Consultant at PVNCCDSB, praised the educators who attended, “The entire group showed tremendous enthusiasm in improving their welding skills for the sake of better student instruction.” Bryan Howes, a PVNCCDSB Mechanical and Electrical Faculty Supervisor, attended the Wednesday evening sessions to provide his guidance and knowledge to the participants. Out of the 12 participants to attend our Train the Trainer sessions in June 2017 and June 2018, everyone passed their SMAW and GMAW weld tests utilizing the tips and teachings that were passed on from their trainers! Other key facilitators in this process include Patrick Debideen, the Central & International Regional Manager for welding certification at the CWB Welding Group, and Graham Spavin, the Certification Services Representative, who assisted in the certification process with the educators.

The educators at PVNCCDSB continued to go above and beyond, hosting four 5-day welding camps in July 2019 for grade 7 and 8 students interested in pursuing welding. CWB Welding Foundation is pleased to see the importance placed on such an initiative that is run similarly to the Mind Over Metal Welding Camps. With CWB Welding Foundation having limited funds available for the Mind Over Metal Welding Camps, it is imperative that external support is provided to offer opportunities like this.

Capital Equipment and Consumables Fund Support

Through the partnership with the PVNCCDSB, CWB Welding Foundation was able to help fund much needed renovations to the welding labs in six schools within the PVNCCDSB across Ontario. The schools included: St. Thomas’ Aquinas Catholic Secondary, St. Mary’s Catholic Secondary, Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary, St. Peter’s Catholic Secondary, St. Stephen’s Catholic Secondary, and Holy Cross Catholic Secondary. The CWB Welding Foundation proudly contributed $305,000 in funds towards the renovations, with a co-operative investment from the PVNCDSB of $405,000. These renovations included cleaning up the demonstration areas, replacing outdated welding booths, and purchasing new welding equipment, such as: new band saws, new mag-drills, and new cutting and grinding tables, all of which contribute to an environment of improved safety, learning, and engagement

The CWB Welding Foundation strongly believes that by working with educators and their school administration, an overwhelming positive impact is made towards addressing the welding skilled trade labour shortage, and encouraging future welders. By providing professional development opportunities to welding educators, it is ensured that students are getting the most relevant and reliable information on welding training. When educators feel comfortable and confident with the curriculum they are teaching, they are more likely to create a safe environment for the students to work in. CWB Welding Foundation strongly promotes the concept of safe welding practices and safe environments for all welders to work in. Through funding by both the school boards and the CWB Welding Foundation, students have the opportunity to work with the latest welding equipment, and work in safe, clean welding labs.

Thank you to Fleming College and the staff at St. Peter’s Catholic Secondary for hosting the training events at their institutes. Also, thank you to Joshua Fortin, Alex Duketow, Patrick Debideen, Bryan Howes, and Graham Spavin, who were involved in the training and certification of our educator. The CWB Welding Foundation is very proud of all the educators that attended these sessions, and cannot wait to see the incredible impact they will make on the future generation of welders.