Welding students at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus recently sparked their torches for the first time in a newly retrofitted shop.
And a $60,000 donation from Praxair’s global giving program is helping the college outfit state-of-the-art workspaces for them.
“Having this kind of training available locally through Okanagan College will help our region grow and we’re proud to be able to support our community in this way,” said Sean Durbin, Praxair Canada president.
The donation supported the construction and equipping of six welding booths in the new shop, which will boast 36 booths in total. Students will continue to have access to 32 booths in an older shop space behind the new facilities.
“Despite slowdowns in a number of sectors like oil and gas, we are seeing that the demand for welders in Western Canada remains strong,” said Steve Moores, the college’s dean of trades and apprenticeship.
“Our welding programs are waitlisted and train in two shifts, morning and night, five days a week, to accommodate as many students as we can.”
With potential for the growth of LNG and shipbuilding on the horizon in B.C., Moores says the college is building for the future and working closely with industry partners to stay current on the newest technologies and techniques.
“This new welding shop is going to provide our students with a completely modern learning environment with all the latest technologies and equipment that they will encounter out in the industry.”
In addition to new technologies, improvements to the shop include more efficient lighting, heating and cooling, and a more efficient extraction system which improves ventilation.
Okanagan College is currently the largest public post-secondary trainer of welders in B.C.
Launched last year, Okanagan College’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign aims to raise $7 million for trades — $5 million for capital construction and $2 million for student and program support.
To learn more about the campaign, go to www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.