News and Events

Out of work welders offered free lab time at Medicine Hat College

April 7, 2016

Looking at a community struggling with current economic conditions, welding instructors at Medicine Hat College (MHC) asked the question “What can we do to help?”

Their answer? Offer free lab time to journeyman welders either currently unemployed or employed in a non-welding related job and provide them with an opportunity to re-train on processes or re-establish hand skills that may have diminished due to lack of welding time in recent months.

According to Dennis Beaudoin, interim director of trades and technologies at the college, the instructors identified this need and agreed to volunteer their time to help fellow welders.

“I was really impressed by their offer and willingness to get involved. I couldn’t be more proud. It just shows what these guys are all about,” said Beaudoin.

“We’ve all been there. Now it’s our friends, our buddies out there that are losing jobs.”

Welding instructors Welding instructors [left to right]: Jason Bonogofsky, Ruth Streifel, Doug Johnson

Dealing with unemployment

Unemployment and a depressed economy are scenarios that many of the instructors have experienced firsthand. Doug Johnson was once laid off in Calgary just two weeks after Christmas. A B-Pressure upgrader course gave him a sense of purpose.

“That course kept me occupied during the day. It kept my focus and my skills up,” recalled Johnson.

Maintaining those skills is critical, agreed Ruth Streifel, another instructor in the welding program.

“It’s a lot of pressure. Your livelihood depends on those hand skills, but they can go down real quick when you’re not working. A course like this can help to improve your skill set and demonstrate your initiative.”

Lab time and testing

From CWB to GTAW welding, journeymen will be welcome to use the lab time to practice any skills they choose, or work on specific elements to prepare for future job opportunities. Basic materials will be provided. There will be no formal instruction but college instructors will be on hand to supervise and offer advice.

Another related opportunity for participants will be to challenge for their B-Pressure ticket with ABSA (Alberta Boilers Safety Association). ABSA will be at MHC on June 24 and will provide testing for a fee.

These sessions are truly a group effort. In addition to the entire welding department donating their time to run the lab, assistance has been offered by other program areas on campus.

Free Welding Session Details

  • June 7 – 23, 2016
  • 6 – 9 p.m. (Tuesday and Thursday evenings, total of 18 hours)
  • 24 spots are available to journeyman welders either currently unemployed or employed in a non-welding related job
  • To register for this free session, or for more information, please call the MHC Trades Department at 403.529.3975.

Supporting the community

It will also count toward 50 Acts of College, MHC’s ongoing initiative to celebrate its 50th Anniversary through the organization or support of 50 good deeds that benefit the community.

“We were extremely grateful for the welding instructors’ offer to consider their idea as an Act of College,” said Colleen Graham, coordinator of 50 Acts. “It’s an excellent example of what we hoped 50 Acts of College would be – staff and faculty finding unique and meaningful ways to give back to this wonderful community and region that we serve.”