Welding grads filling skills gap, strengthening province’s workforce

FREDERICTON (GNB) – A program designed to help address New Brunswick’s skilled labour shortage is celebrating its second cohort of graduates.

Ten participants from NBCC’s Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welding Production Program attended a graduation ceremony last Friday at the Western Valley Multiplex in Centreville.

“Opportunities NB is encouraging business growth by supporting creative workforce solutions, filling the skills gap, and strengthening our workforce,” said Arlene Dunn, who is minister responsible for Opportunities NB. “The MIG Welding Production Program is an incredible example of what can be achieved when we work together for the benefit of both business and community.”

The three-month program launched in mid-January 2021 as a collaboration between NBCC, Working NB, Opportunities NB and BWS Manufacturing, a heavy haul trailer company based in Centreville, along with other local industry partners. Ambassadors are working in schools and with other companies to increase enrolment in the program.

The program will help meet the needs of BWS Manufacturing, a growing company with plans to hire an average of 20 to 25 new welders per year over the next 10 years.

“Employees are any company’s number one asset and, as a manufacturer, we are looking forward to providing industry with access to more skilled labor,” said Todd Saunders, vice-president of human resources with BWS Manufacturing. “The goal of this program is to have 10 to 12 graduates every three months.”

“At NBCC, we’re really proud of our one- and two-year programs, which work well for thousands of students every year,” said Heather Allaby, executive director of strategic and integrated engagement at NBCC. “But life and opportunities come at us fast, and that means we need to be quicker and more flexible to meet students where they are, rather than expecting them to come to us. This works best when we work together; we need our valued partners like BWS, Opportunities NB, and Working NB to meet learners where they are in life and help them take that next step into something new.”

Heather Chase was among the participants recognized last week after she completed the 12-week program.

“The MIG welding course offered through Working NB and NBCC at BWS Manufacturing was an amazing opportunity,” said Chase. “I encourage more females to take this course and get into the trades. It’s life-changing. You won’t regret it.”

More information about the MIG Welding Production Program is available online.

Media Contact(s):

Abigail McCarthy, marketing and communications, Opportunities NB, abigail.mccarthy@gnb.ca.

David Kelly, communications, Opportunities NB, (506)-444-5443.