The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
By JAKE CAMUS Staff Writer The Welding Technician program at Niagara College isn’t the only option for a student looking to go into the trades. Like any other, however, they take pride in their work. Welding student Ally Dutcher said, “We see ourselves as artists. Our work is an art and our craftsmanship says a lot about it.” The Welding Technician program starts with the basics Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training, learning how to use your machinery, adjusting the flow rate of gas, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), along with many other precautionary lessons. Welding technicians acknowledge that safety is No. 1 priority and essential to learn first in the program. Second-year student Josh Chretien provided an overview of his trade, what it’s all about and why it’s so important. “We focus on a variety of different applications and welding processes. Some of these core processes include Oxy-fuel welding, Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). Basically, these processes are different ways that we fuse metals together. We work with metals such as stainless steel, aluminum, alloys and high-carbon steel.” “To fuse the metal together we go through a series of four different positions. We start with the flat position, then move on to horizontal, vertical and finally, an overhead position to finish up the work. We know this order by calling it 1g, 2g, 3g and 4g.” Students are motivated, not only because of pride in their work, but because welders know there is such high demand for their trade in the near future. “It’ll be good money. We know it’s good for us in the long run,” says student Ryan Stewart as he prepares for his next class. The Globe and Mail has reported on wages for welders. In Alberta, where the demand for welders is the highest, average yearly pay is $64,000 for new welders and $80,000 for experienced welders. Chretien said, “We’re not only wanted, we’re needed. The college is here to provide those practical and theoretical needs to become a good welder. It’s the college and my professors I have to thank when I realize how far I’ve come, I couldn’t have done it without them.”