Trades workers enhance their skills every day. Whether it is developing better techniques or adopting new technologies, professional growth is an ongoing experience. Sometimes it can be challenging to demonstrate mastery of these new skills to employers, making professional advancement more difficult. That is where micro-credentialing comes in.
Micro-credentials are an emerging way of certifying a defined set of skills and knowledge. They are often characterized by their short duration, flexibility, labour market relevance, and ability to be offered by a variety of training providers. Other jurisdictions, such as New Zealand and the United States, have already introduced Micro-credentials in their education and training systems.
Canada’s economy is rapidly evolving, and so is the nature of work. Given the emerging role of new technologies in many industries, the Ontario government has recognized that skills development solutions are required to keep pace with the changing demands of the workforce and to ensure that our labour force has the skills needed to succeed today and tomorrow.
The Welding and Employment Skills Training program (WEST), funded by the RapidSkills initiative, is part of the Government on Ontario’s commitment to support workers, including laid-off, at-risk, and underutilized workers, develop the skills they need to get and keep good jobs; and help employers build the workforce they need to grow their businesses.
In speaking to some of the first participants in the program, we have received a lot of positive feedback that we hope to expand upon from. Britnee Miazek, who is currently enrolled in the program, shared her first impressions with us.
“I first saw the program advertised on Facebook as a training program, and when I realized it was through the CWB, I jumped on the chance to be able to learn from them. I knew I needed more certifications and did not want to let this incredible opportunity slip me by, especially considering how COVID-19 affected the end of my Metal Fabrication Technician Program. Ten full weeks of hands-on training in a dream facility plus being taught by the teachers at the CWB is beyond incredible.”
The primary goal of RapidSkills is to encourage the development and test the potential of short-duration, industry-sensitive training to help more workers gain the kinds of In-Demand Skills that employers are looking for. This will enable the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) to better understand the role Micro-credentials could play in the province’s skills training ecosystem and learn more about how to adequately address some of the training gaps that currently exist in Ontario.
The Welding and Employment Skills Training (WEST) Program was developed through a partnership between CWB Group and Skills for Change, an Ontario-based organization. The WEST Program will assist 24 laid-off, at-risk or underutilized automotive or advanced manufacturing workers transition into different roles in the industry.
The 13-week program will provide in-class training and hands-on training that will focus on specific skills utilized in many of the highdemand welding manufacturing industries. The program will also provide mentoring, soft-skills training, interview preparation, and resume-building workshops to ensure that participants have all the necessary resources at their disposal to not only re-enter but also succeed in the workplace. Industry guest speakers and participation in virtual job fairs will also be provided during the training sessions.
Graduation from the program will lead to an entry-level position within the industry and CWB welder qualification tickets under CSA W47.1 standard for the GMAW and FCAW/MCAW process.
“I would definitely recommend this program to everyone, especially women who have a passion for welding. It is an incredible opportunity to meet amazing people that are so supportive and take the time to help and teach you.” – Jamie Devereaux.
“It feels like I’m learning from a family that’s passing down secrets and creating a strong learning environment.” – Brett Kaiser.
The WEST program is perfectly aligned with CWB Group’s strategic initiatives to promote and support the welding industry. This joint program is designed with the prosperity of the welding industry in mind. Welding professionals will benefit by upgrading their skills and accessing a suite of career development services to help them secure employment in one of the many industries desperate for skilled welding professionals. We are truly excited to be working in partnership with Skills for Change and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and to give back to the industry that we are committed to helping prosper.
▸Husam Mansour, Program Director, Husam.Mansour@
Donagh McAvinue, Welding Instructor and Developer
Christine Marc, Photographer, CWB Group
Note: The project is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.