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High demand for welding classes at Okanagan College

Two additional intakes of welding students at Okanagan College will add another 32 welders to the labour pool. The classes begin in February.
January 27, 2015 - 4:45 PM

PENTICTON - In spite of falling oil prices, the demand for welders remains high - and Okanagan College in Penticton is helping to answer that need.

South Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Dean Donna Lomas said the college has heard from employers from throughout the South Okanagan and beyond about the need for welders, so the college has organized two new intakes of students, starting in February.

The intakes are made up of 16 students each. The campus in Penticton has already taught 110 welders since first offering the course in 2007.

Penticton Fabricating President Brad Harder well understands the need for Penticton’s welding program - his business alone has 17 welders on the payroll, and many learned their trade at Okanagan College.

“One of the major hurdles that we face is access to training for welders. I know of several people who would like to become welders but are not able to leave Penticton to get the required training. It’s why news of these two classes is very welcome,” said Harder.

Lomas recommends those people interested in a welding career should visit the college’s website and apply as new sections become available, as she anticipates more classes in the future.

Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores, said there is intense employer demand for welders in spite of the recent slowdown in the oil patch.

“All you have to do is look at the demographics of the trades to see there is a silver tsunami of retirements on the horizon,” Moores said.

Lomas said the Penticton campus has benefitted from a different approach to trades training implemented by Okanagan College in 2005.  Trades were dispersed to campuses other than Kelowna, bringing such programs as refrigeration and air conditioning, welding, plumbing, residential construction and women in trades to the South Okanagan.

For more information about programs at the College in the South Okanagan and Similkameen, visit the campus’s webpage at: www.okanagan.bc.ca/penticton

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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