Tracking a career as a welder just became a whole lot easier with the arrival of the Welding Certificate Program at the Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute (SETI) campus in Estevan.
Sheena Onrait, regional manager for the Southeast Regional College, hosts for the program that is delivered by program partner Saskatchewan Polytechnic, said the mobile facilities consisting of two large semi-trailer units linked together will host the first 12 welding students beginning soon. The units are located just a few yards from the main facility’s auditorium.
One trailer contains the 12 welding booths, each equipped with necessary torches and other welding necessities, while the second unit houses a grinding workplace as well as supplies. It is expected the program will also use SETI’s other facilities to maximize efficiencies in delivering the program.
“This is one of three mobile training units. We get it for a year,” said Onrait, noting the first-step welding course will absorb 20 weeks, thus giving the institute an opportunity to offer two consecutive courses if the sign-up list is a healthy one.
The course leads directly to an approved apprenticeship welding program, she explained.
“We have found the welding trade, next to electrician, as one of the most demanded in this part of the province,” Onrait added. “So when we found we had the opportunity to get the mobile lab, we went for it,” she said. One other training unit is assigned to the northern part of the province and the third is dedicated for First Nations, on-reserve training sessions.
Onrait was quick to point out that $1,000 scholarships are available to well qualified students for this Level 1 certification course that leads to recognition for advancement to the apprenticeship Levels 2 and 3, and eventual journeyperson status.
Jim Marcia of Saskatchewan Polytechnic Regina campus, has been appointed as the qualified instructor for the course that has already attracted a lot of attention in local circles.
“We had a group of Estevan Comprehensive School students, Grade 11 and 12, who are in their welding program, visit us today,” said Onrait, speaking of the open house offering on Nov. 18.
“The trailer classrooms have been out there since 2005, and the demand is heavy. I don’t believe we’ve had them in Estevan before,” Onrait said, then added that for efficiency’s sake, the units will run on three-phase power systems, accessed through the SETI building, thus reducing costs.
Depending on the time-line and interest level, the training might also include industrial machine courses in the second half of the year, rather than a second round of welding. But that is pure speculation right now, she said, since the level of interest in the welding program is still being explored.
“This can help students plan ahead, and it also gives the college and SETI an opportunity to do a little forward planning too. Long range program planning is a real advantage … that and the possibility of having some student housing in the near future, would add to the whole picture since class offerings, recruitment, housing, planning should all go hand-in-hand,” Onrait said, referring to plans that have been forwarded for serious consultation by the regional college, City of Estevan and local businesses regarding provision of housing options that could cater to college and SETI students’ needs.
More information and registration applications are available by contacting the regional college at 1-866-999-7372 or at www.southeastcollege.org.