SIIT’s Welding Certificate class hosted a group of high school students from Muskoday First Nation on February 28 at the Saskatoon Trades and Skills Centre to give them a first-hand look at Welder training and an overview of welding as an occupation.
Welding instructor Aaron Reid led the demonstrations, providing students with a tour of the shop and insight into the kinds of opportunities that are built into the welding program. Geared up for safety, the visiting students took turns rotating through the welding booths where the SIIT students provided demonstrations on welding techniques.
“Bringing in these small groups of interested students to become familiar with welding gives them an experience that is out of the ordinary and plants seeds for their future career considerations,” said SIIT Coordinator, Sam Whitehawk.
The event was organized by Megan Unrau from the Saskatchewan Industry Education Council (SIEC) and Michelle Blackmon, Career Education Coordinator for the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC).
“Our program provides opportunities for hands-on experiences in a variety of careers. Students can be creative, making anything from artwork to industrial goods. Welding opens possibilities and keeps thing interesting,” Michelle said.
The SIEC works in partnership with three school divisions (Saskatoon Public, Greater Saskatoon Catholic and Prairie Spirit and the STC community schools, community-based organizations, government agencies, and employers to help nurture the workforce of tomorrow through experiential learning and career development opportunities for youth.
The field trip was generously sponsored by PotashCorp which provided some safety gear, lunch, and transportation, including a trip to JNE Welding to see a welding shop first hand.
Travelling with the students on the field trip were student transition worker Cheryl Murphy, Barry Bear, an instructor and mentor to the students, as well as Mark Caron, an Adult Basic Education instructor from St. Louis.
During lunch, Angus Sanderson, Lead Advisor to SIIT’s Access Services, outlined the requirements for entry into the welding program, how to apply, and what kind of scholarships are available. “There are definite advantages for First Nations students to train at SIIT, including the fact that their gear is built into their tuition, including safety glasses, work boots, welding sleeves, coveralls, and safety gloves,” he noted.
Rodelle Genoway of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) then followed with a presentation on the manufacturing sector in Saskatchewan, giving the students a useful idea of the kind of job opportunities available in the field.
CME recently presented its Aboriginal Engagement Workshop for companies in Saskatoon looking to hire Aboriginal workers. The workshop gave companies an opportunity to share their opinions and experience related to the challenges and success stories of recruitment, selection, and retention of an Aboriginal workforce.
SIIT’s 36-week Welding certificate program gives students their level 1 and 2 training, as well as 1200 hours towards the required hours to complete the Welding Apprenticeship Program. It provides knowledge and skills development in operating welding equipment and performing basic welding operations using current welding practices. It also includes the opportunity to achieve certification in safety and other courses related to the industry. This program is brokered from Saskatchewan Polytechnic, an important SIIT education partner.