Those interested in changing careers or learning a new skill can try welding for free this summer.

Starting in June, The Ministry of Labour Training and Skill Development in Ontario will offer welding training at four institutions: Mohawk College, Fanshawe College, Six Nations Polytechnic’s Brantford campus, and Conestoga College.

In total, 150 spots are available in the program — of which two-thirds will be allocated to women and other underrepresented groups, such as people with disabilities.

The training is open to residents of Hamilton, Brantford, Six Nations, and other nearby communities.

Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workplace Planning Board of Grand Erie, told The Spectator there is a real push to get women into the skilled trades industry “because there is a gender gap.” 

“We need to encourage more females to get into the trades industry,” Dalton explained, noting that welding can also lead to other careers in the trades for women.

“Oftentimes, there’s a gap in understanding about the trades because they’re not heavily advertised,” Dalton added.

The Workplace Planning Board, a non-profit organization focused on developing Ontario’s labour force, provides the training through its Skills2Advance division in partnership with the CWB Welding Foundation.

“Tackling the skilled labour shortage is a monumental task, but partnering with organizations like the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie goes a long way in closing the gap and demonstrating that welding can be for everyone,” said Susan Crowley, executive director of the CWB Welding Foundation.

The two-week classes, which run Monday through Friday, include 30 hours of welding training and 30 hours of first aid training —allowing participants to get a sense of the job, including the working conditions. The number of participants will range between 15 and 20 for each session.

Welding tool kits, including helmets, will be provided, and participants may qualify for further assistance. Participants will also be assisted in finding on-the-job placements after graduation, and organizers say that placements can lead to full-time employment.

Visit Skills2Advance to learn more about the tuition-free welding training available for the upcoming summer.

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