Student welders finish training program

Some now moving toward advanced certification

Students of a welding course offered here by the UA Piping Industry College of BC wrapped up their program last week. (UA Piping Industry College of BC photo)

Students taking an introductory welding program in Houston wrapped up their instruction Sept. 25 with some already looking for employment to carry on their training for full trades certification.

Five have applied to Pacific Atlantic Pipeline Construction (PAPC), the company contracted by Coastal GasLink to build the section of its natural gas pipeline south of Houston, says Kevin Jeffery from the UA Piping Industry College of B.C. which ran the introductory program.

PAPC was a contributor to the program which began in the spring and company representatives visited the students earlier to speak about employment opportunities.

Two other students have expressed an interest to work for JGC Fluor, the joint venture which has the major contract to build LNG Canada’s liquefied natural gas plant in Kitimat, said Jeffery.

And four other students still need to complete high school, he added.

“Students passing the program will need to find a sponsor or employer to take them on as an apprentice, get some work experience (work base hours) and then they can go into Level 3 or B for their next level of schooling. At completion of that level they can write their Red Seal exam and with 4620 work base hours they become certified, ” said Jeffery.

“Students going to work with PAPC as a welder helper will get sponsored and if they stay on to the completion of the project should have more than enough hours to get their Red Seal and will just need to complete their schooling.”

The decision to locate the program in Houston was based on the concept of providing local people with the skills to take advantage of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline.

But the concept of local training goes back more than a decade when another natural gas pipeline project, Pacific Trail, was being proposed for another liquefied natural gas project at Kitimat called Kitimat LNG. And the idea accelerated when Rio Tinto revamped its Kitimat aluminum smelter.

“The idea was to provide training for people from the area so they would have employment opportunities,” said Jeffery.

Houston Secondary School signed on as a partner, making its facilities available for in-class and practical instruction and the UP Piping Industry College brought in its own eight-bay mobile welding training trailer.

In a community involvement project, the students built two bike racks for the Houston Mountain Biking Association, one for the front of Pawesome Adventure as that store also serves as the association’s bike lending program host and the other for the lower lot at Mount Harry Davis.

The bike rack project grew out of conversations between association president Miake Elliott and welding program instructor Haileigh Shanks while the two were out on their mountain bikes.

“Because of COVID there was not a lot of shuttling going on,” said association president Miake Elliott of riding at Mount Harry Davis. “So people were stashing their bikes and then arranging to retrieve them afterward. The bike rack means there’s a secure place where they can be locked up.”

Both racks are designed to accommodate a mountain bike’s wider tires, she said.

The bike rack project grew out of conversations between Elliott and welding program instructor Haileigh Shanks while the two were out on their mountain bikes.

The racks were crafted in a triangular shape so as to represent a mountain theme.

“Each crew had a foreman who was in charge of the drawings to make sure the project is done correctly. Everyone gets an equal amount of work. This project has been a great experience to teach students about work ethic, time management and teamwork,” said Jeffery.

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