Sparks Fly at Local Welding Competition

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SAULT STE. MARIE: Today, nine local students from Korah Collegiate and Vocational School and White Pines Collegiate and Vocational School participated in a welding competition at the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 800. Students got dived into individual pods and given a task to complete. Students are judged on safety, fitting, shielded metal arc welding, and gas metal arc welding and judged on their overall welding skills, and techniques. Two winners will qualify for Regionals in North Bay in April. 

“Today the students are here competing for the right to go on to represent the Algoma District School Board at the Skills Ontario Competition. From here, two students will earn the right to move onto the North Bay Regionals and then qualify out of that to go to the provincial championship in Toronto at the beginning of May,” says Steve Burmaster, Coop, OYAP, Pathways Coordinator. 

The local 800 Plummers and Pipefitters Hall had local experts to assist with judging the welding pieces. Judges will be watching the students throughout the day and watching how well the students communicate, and the questions they ask are also a part of the evaluation process. Some features of the judging; Did the students work safely? Did they wear proper safety equipment? In terms of the marking rubric, 75% of the marks will come down to how well the quality of the welding product is. 

“Students are given a drawing showing the fit-up of all the parts and how all parts work together. They have to do the layout of the parts and assemble the product, just like a professional would have to do in the industry. It’s to make sure the end product is exactly what the customer is looking for.” 

The skills competition really allows students to get hands-on experience and to work independently in their future career paths. Many employers locally are intrigued by these co-op and placement partnerships. These employers have their eyes on students and are interested to see what they can produce, inside the classroom and outside of it. 

The trades solely isn’t just a men’s atmosphere anymore. Women are now taking a stance to show they can contribute to the trades world. Even in this local competition, there are two female contestants. The trades have evaluated so women can find their passion. Stay tuned for the results to follow. 

Steve Burmaster would also like to take the time to thank all local sponsors for the event. It wouldn’t have been possible without the help from Trader Steel Warehouse, Soo Foundry and Machine Ltd, Air Liquide Canada Store and from United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 800.