High school welding program boosts students’ careers

Chatham-Kent high school students have a head start on careers in the welding industry.

The Chatham-Kent High School Welding Program (CKSS) teaches students the skills needed to become certified welders. The school is now officially a Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) Certified Training Center.

The program began in September and recently tested its first batch of seven students for CWB certification.

“It was a huge success,” said Kevin Hoskins, who teaches welding at CKSS. “All but one of the students passed the certification test.”

Hoskins said as soon as students get their certification ticket, they can start working in the trade. He said the program also gives students an advantage if they decide to do an apprenticeship after graduating from high school.

“Students are qualified enough to continue their education,” Hoskins said. “We give them a lot of training, but they still have a lot to learn. At least they get a bunch of procedures for the working world.

The program teaches students several types of welding, including mig welding, tig welding, and stick welding. Hoskins said students also learn AutoCAD, which is a computer-aided design and drafting software application.

“I love this program,” said Grade 12 student Dylan Purdy. “I have these guys [teachers] who help me every step of the way. Every mistake I make, they help me correct it.

Asked about his career, Purdy said he always knew it would be in the trades industry. He said a career in welding became clearer once he learned to weld.

“I always thought of being a tool and die maker, but then Mr. Hoskins showed me welding,” Purdy said. “I love that stuff.”

Hoskins said the best part of teaching students to weld is watching them grow to be successful.

“Students don’t give up, they keep working and working,” Hoskins said.