Precision welding has come a long way in Canada. Today, the country has more skilled welders than a few years ago. However, the number of welders is still not enough, seeing as industries have expanded exponentially, taking in thousands of welders and thirsting for many more. The Canadian Welding Association (CWA), a division of the Canadian Welding Bureau, observes that the country needs more skilled welders.
Colleges have a role to play in ensuring the country has enough skilled welding professionals, fabricators, and even manufacturers. The government also has a role to play in ensuring the state has enough experienced fabricators. Read on to learn more.
What Causes a Shortage of Skilled Labor in Canada?
Canada is rich in natural resources, the infrastructure in all provinces is excellent, the government is stable, and it is well-positioned to grow economically. Over the past decade, the country has witnessed exponential growth with investors and provincial governments pouring in billions of dollars in manufacturing, mining, and other projects. In the future, huge investments will continue, and this will see the country develop even more economically. Due to the fast growth of industries, the demand for skilled labor has gone significantly higher.
One of the reasons why the number of skilled welders has gone down is the elimination of trade education in the early 1990s. At the time, computers and technology were just starting to gain traction, and the government felt that computers were the future. However, there is still a high demand for skilled labor and easy to use welding equipment.
It is expensive to run a skilled-trades program in school. Most colleges would instead run arts and computer programs than trade programs. However, there is a renewed focus on skilled trades at the high school and college levels.
How has the Shortage Affected the Welding Industry in Canada?
The Shortage of skilled welders in the country does not only affect the welding industry but also the fabricating and manufacturing industry. Manufacturers employ welding professionals, and so do fabricators. When there is a high demand for skilled labor, the market drives up costs. There are delays in manufacturing and fabrication, which in turn cause delays in industrial development and the creation of jobs. The increased pressure makes it challenging for Canada to compete globally.
The Canadian steel fabrication industry is facing stiff competition from international companies. When labor shortage comes in, the game gets even stiffer.
The Shortage is an indication that the education system needs a change. Most students are graduating into a world where their skills are seldom needed while those graduating from trades programs graduate to many opportunities.
The Canadian Welding Association is helping students across the country realize opportunities. They provide welding education promotional content and marketing materials at events across Canada.
How Can The Canadian Welding Board Help Ease the Shortage?
CWB and CWA are always promoting welding professions to students. They create videos and promotional materials that show students why they should choose a profession in welding. They also reach out to parents to educate them on the opportunities that their children will enjoy if they take welding as a career.
They also engage provincial governments, trade unions, high schools, and colleges about the Shortage of skilled welders. To make the masses embrace trades programs, even more, the CWA also sponsors an annual Welding Education Conference to educate the instructors on the latest technologies and advancements in the industry.
Can Canada Hire Skilled Immigrants?
CSA/CWB certifies welders in Canada and other parts of the world. The association reports that there has been an increase in the number of welders certified around the world. Most of these welders are ready with their certificates when they come to Canada, making it easier for them to be hired. The government has also made it easier for immigrants to come to work in Canada. The Shortage can be addressed with ease if skilled immigrants come into work in the manufacturing and fabrication industries.
The only challenge with skilled immigrants is their level of skill and education. The quality and level of trade education vary around the world. Besides ensuring the welders get all the safety during the process, education is supposed to make welders creators.
By advertising the welding opportunities in Canada to the world, the industry can attract more skilled immigrants. At the International Institute of Welding conferences, Canada has stood as one of the countries with the best welding certification programs.
Can the Canadian Government Help Curb the Shortage?
High schools find it expensive to fund trades programs. If the government were to come in and offer enough funding for the programs, it would make it easier for schools to provide these programs. Some schools offer these programs, but they do so with outdated equipment. The government can buy new equipment and then offer incentives to welding students, for instance, through financial support.
The manufacturing industry in Canada is growing faster than the country can produce skilled labor. If something is not done, the exponential growth in the fabrication and manufacturing industry will slow down. This will affect many other industries, see a decrease in the number of new jobs, affect the country’s GDP, and make the country less competitive. Prefabricated and convenience houses are gaining popularity, and this calls for more skilled welders.