A group of Calgary students is learning a career in the trades can be creative and lucrative. They are spending the week at St. Monica Elementary/ Junior High School learning how to weld.  

“I knew it was going to be a lot of welding but I didn’t expect it to be this crazy,” says 14 year old Zolin Lazariuc. “I’ve done 5 or 6 projects in 3 days.”

The program is sponsored by the Canadian Welding Association.  It began as a trial camp in Edmonton last summer and was so successful it’s expanded to 13 camps with over 200 students across Canada.

Executive Director Deborah Mates says, “At the end of the camp kids are actually saying I want to become a welder.  The other thing that’s happening is they’re really excited about math, why math is important and how it applies in the world.”

At a time when people are losing their jobs; the trades remain active. Ironworkers Local  725 is actively recruiting for projects in downtown Calgary and welding pays well. “I have young high school kids coming out and starting at $21 an hour,” says Rob Calver. “It’s an easy sell because they’ve made themselves enough to buy a new vehicle or provide for their families; some of these young people are making more than their parents.”

“I think it’s really fun,” says 13 year old Patrick Mitchell. “Some things are a little bit challenging but after a while they’re getting easier.”

The experience has left many students optimistic about a career in welding.

(With files from Kevin Fleming)