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Welding classes help SD62 students launch trades careers

Wednesday May 18, 2022 | COLWOOD, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Sooke School District SD62 has celebrated the expansion of their welding shops by recognizing the contributions by the CWB Welding Foundation and Seaspan.

An event was held in the welding shop at Royal Bay Secondary School (RBSS) yesterday, where various speakers gave background and expressed appreciation for receiving over $100,000 in donations to the welding shops at RBSS in Colwood and Edward Milne Community School (EMCS) in Sooke.

The addition of new equipment helps with welding instruction to current standards, which is an important part of helping students go further in trades training and eventually support well-paid careers.

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Joe Saundercook, Manager of Fund and Partner Development, Canadian Welding Foundation, at Royal Bay Secondary on May 17, 202. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

The Canadian Welding Foundation (CWB) has donated funds to “hundreds of schools”, said Joe Saundercook, Manager of Fund and Partner Development, CWB yesterday. He added that RBSS has “one of the nicest welding shops”.

SD62 Board Chair Ravi Parmar noted CWB’s “substantial investment” and spoke about “the power of welding in the lives of students”, in the context of trades training and the overall labour shortage in BC.

Earlier this year the Province of BC has projected one million job openings across the economy. Training at all levels of post-secondary (including apprenticeship, diploma and degree) is part of a provincial direction to ensure a broad range of trained adults for the workforce of this decade and the next.

Full welding classes:

At EMCS the welding class there has seen 16 to 18 students per semester since the shop at that Sooke high school was expanded several years ago ($60,000 investment).

Three more vented welding booths added at the RBSS shop two years ago (costing $150,000) has increased the learning capacity there. The semester-long course option sees students “immersed all day in the shop” under the direction of TASK/Metalworks instructor Matt Harmeson.

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Metalworks feature pieces at the Royal Bay Secondary metalworks celebration May 17, 2022. [Island Social Trends]

Community integration & career building:

Metalworks students also become integrated into serving the community and learning some business skills, as through building and then selling and delivering metal sheds to local residents and businesses.

The process is “revenue neutral” says RBSS Careers and Transitions teacher Dante Di Ponio. But the process allows the shop to acquire materials and for students to learn specific skills and see how metalworks can be impactful for the community.

Mitzi Dean

One student with a passion for metalworks addressed the group yesterday, Riota Vangenne told the group that he was was grateful for the start he has achieved at RBSS. He has now enrolled in the August 2022 intake for the Sheet Metal Foundations Program at Camosun College.

Two metal-work pieces were on display yesterday — one featuring the RBSS logo and the other a red dress in recognition of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Seaspan support:

Ship building is an important part of the BC economy, with Seaspan employing 650 trades (1,400 at the peak, prior to the pandemic) in the Pacific west coast region, as outlined yesterday by Steve Baker, Senior Director of Operations at Seaspan Victoria Shipyards.

Baker said that Seaspan has “always provided strong supports of higher education”. He notes this is a time where “there are more jobs than people (to fill them)”.

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Who was there:

Attending yesterday were Sooke School District SD62 Board Chair Ravi Parmar and Trustee Wendy Hobbs.

wendy hobbs, ravi parmar, scott stinson
Attending the SD62 metalworks celebration at Royal Bay Secondary School on May 17, 2022 (from left): Trustee Wendy Hobbs, Chair Ravi Parmar, and Superintendent Scott Stinson. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

SD62 Senior staff there for the important moment included Superintendent Scott Stinson and Associate Superintendent Paul Block.

Also taking part in the morning event were RBSS Principal Mike Huck and District Principal Pathways and Choice Jim Lamond.


Mary Brooke, editor, West Shore Voice News
Mary P Brooke, Editor and Publisher, Island Social Trends.

Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has been covering the news of SD62 at the board and committee level since 2014. | About Island Social Trends

===== OTHER SD62 NEWS:

Dealing with $3+ million shortfall in 2022-2023 SD62 budget (April 20, 2022)

Public input coming up on SD62 budget 2022-2023 (April 12, 2022)

SD62 embraces Boulder House Langford to support Climbing Academy (February 22, 2022)

SD62 requires COVID vaccination proof from current employees (January 31, 2022)

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