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Lambton College to prep more students for skilled trades

Troy Shantz Ontario is giving Lambton College $926,000 to prepare 380 students for skilled trade apprenticeships.
Welding is one of the many skilled trades involved in the local fabricating industry, including this welder at Kel-Gor Limited on Plank Road.Glenn Ogilvie

Troy Shantz

Ontario is giving Lambton College $926,000 to prepare 380 students for skilled trade apprenticeships.

Supporting the college’s apprenticeship training programs will address a looming shortage of welders, millwrights, steamfitters, concrete finishers and boilermakers, Ontario training minister Monte McNaughton said in Sarnia last week.

"These are exciting, fulfilling and often well-paying careers,” he said.

The money will help train:

  • 37 instrumentation and control technician apprentices
  • 112 general carpenter apprentices
  • 102 steamfitter apprentices
  • 94 construction maintenance electricians
  • 17 welders
  • 24 construction boilermakers

The construction boilermaker program is a new program announced for Lambton just last week.

The new money is getting two thumbs up from a local union manager struggling to meet labour demands in Sarnia and the region.

“We’ve got calls out across Canada and we’re getting a lot of calls from the West and the East coasts,” said Bob Schenck, of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Local 1256.

“We’ve even sent some retirees back out for work when we couldn’t get people from out of town.”

Thirty-six new hires joined the Carpenters last fall and 80 more applicants were interviewed last month, Schenck said.

Still, more than 200 additional carpenters have come from across Canada to work at local projects, he added.

Skilled tradespeople are needed for the $2.2-billion expansion at Nova Chemicals in St. Clair Township and an upcoming maintenance shutdown at Imperial Oil.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge joining Windsor and Detroit will need workers until 2023, and Bruce Power is currently accepting “boilermaker helpers” to meet the labour demands of a 13-year nuclear refurbishment near Kincardine, Ont.

As well, a sizable percentage of the local workforce is approaching retirement age, creating even more job opportunities for people entering skilled trades.

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