Students from ages 12 to 16 had a chance to try their hands at putting Mind Over Metal July 24-28.
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) campus in Williams Lake facilitated and hosted an introductory welding camp program for the week.
The program is spearheaded by the CWB Welding Foundation, which provides funding and materials, with additional sponsorship funding from BC Energy Regulator.
Sixteen students participated in the camp, with a number of volunteer professionals helping support the students alongside TRU welding instructor Tyler Baba.
Those who spoke to the Tribune all said they enjoyed the program, and most said they were considering a job in the trades. Many were aiming to enrol in the Foundations program which gives high school credits to students while they take trades training in their final years of high school.
The aim of the Mind Over Metal camp is to give the students a chance to get some hands-on experience welding and introduce them to the trades, hopefully inspiring an interest to work in a skilled trade.
“Students build confidence and have fun while being supervised by professionals in a safe environment,” said Susan Crowley, executive director, CWB Welding Foundation.
“I just love welding and building stuff,” said Lena Sheppard, a student going int o Grace 11 this fall. Lena was one of four young women at the camp. She said the camp will go on her application for the Foundations program.
Fin Testawich, a student heading into Grade 9, said he enjoys working on cars and fixing things and so when his mom saw the information on the camp and asked him if he’d like to go, he said yes.
Fin said he thinks he’d like to pursue a career as a heavy duty mechanic or a millwright and liked creating some custom signs during the camp.
Amina Bird, who is going into Grade 10, said she attended the camp because she wanted to get more experience in a different atmosphere. When she first arrived, she said she was a bit intimidated because she was the only girl, but then once everyone was there and there were four young women, it was great. She also hopes to take the Foundations program once she’s in high school.
Another goal of the Mind Over Metal camp is to help bring to light some of the job opportunities available in the welding industry including welder, welding inspector, welding research and engineering.
The program introduced students to welding safety, gas metal arc welding, introduction to weld symbols, and included a brief overview of the impact welding has on peoples’ daily lives.
CWB Welding Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable organization working to address the need for skilled welding professionals by helping attract young people to the trade by removing barriers for underrepresented groups to obtain training.
The CWB Welding Foundation has hosted nearly 170 of these welding camps across Canada since 2014 and according to Dwayne Geiger, who helped coordinate the course, about 40 per cent of the students who attend the camps go on to do a Foundation course in trades.