Students in Williams Lake were back in the classroom early last week learning about welding and metal fabrication.
Sponsored by the Canadian Welding Association Foundation, School District 27 and the Child Development Centre, the Mind over Metal Welding Camp introduced 18 students to safety, precision measurement, arc welding, wire feed welding, hand tools and sheet metal working, said Tim Westwick, Lake City Secondary School metal work and welding instructor who helped organize the camp.
“It was the first time we did a camp like this,” Westwick said. “It took two years of planning.”
Amazed after the first day by the skillset of the young students who ranged between 12 and 14 years of age, Westwick said it far exceed expectations
“We hope to do it again,” he said, noting some of the students in the camp were at-risk youth.
Rylee Allery, 14, said he enjoyed arc welding the most of all the week’s activities and that welding is the career he wants to pursue.
“I like it because it is an art and takes a lot of skill and natural talent,” Rylee said as he worked on one of his projects.
After going to a one-day trade fair at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake last year, his interest was sparked, he said.
“So I am taking welding in Grade 9.”
Anna Best also loved the welding portion of the camp.
“I made a log with an axe in it all out of metal,” Anna said. “It was really cool.”
On Friday afternoon parents visited and many of the students had fun showing them what they had learned.
Brooklyn Pelchat, 13, enlisted the help of her dad Remy Pelchat to help her flatten a piece of metal.
The school district co-ordinator of career programs Dave Corbett had many parents asking him about how students are selected for ACE-IT, the trades training program in high school.
He said he looks at teachers’ comments and attendance as being key.
Westwick and Corbett collaborated with the Child Development Centre’s Dave Preeper and Shel Myers, TASCO supplies, Miller Welding Equipment and Praxair Canada in Williams Lake to put on the camp.
“SD 27 also lent us their sheet metal worker Colton Manuel for the week,” Westwick said.
The Canadian Welding Association Foundation was founded in 2013 to support public safety awareness and to address the skilled welding labour shortage in Canada.