The CWB Welding Foundation has been supporting bringing more young people into the industry. Since 2014, the foundation has held hands-on welding camps for youth across Canada.
The week-long Mind over Metal camps introduce teens aged 12 through 15 to welding processes and techniques, while also changing their perceptions about the trades and demonstrating that welding is a meaningful and financially stable career.
“What strikes me the most is the creativity that the kids have, and are able to pursue through the camp experience,” said Susan Crowley, executive director of the CWB Welding Foundation.
“They love it,” added Crowley. “Their faces just light up talking about it. It’s so gratifying to see perceptions change, the potential for new career paths that they want to explore. There’s a real underlying emphasis in these camps on the importance of staying in school, especially in the under-serviced communities. There are so many directions they can take—a welder, welding inspector, quality control, management, labour.”
The CWB Welding Foundation often partners with small businesses or corporations to defray the costs of materials, like steel and rods, and protective equipment, including goggles, gloves and respirators.
During the week of July 8, Enbridge will sponsor two Mind over Metal camps in Saskatchewan, one at Balgonie’s Greenall High School, and one for Indigenous girls at Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Regina campus.
The foundation partners with secondary schools, post-secondary institutes and community organizations to host these camps, with financial support from the industry. During the 2018-19 season, there were 68 camps held in nearly every Canadian province for youths, both from Indigenous communities and the general population.