With the work picture for Boilermaker employment looking bright in British Columbia, the need to train new apprentices is imperative. The province’s Boilermaker Foundation program is held at the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s (BCIT) Burnaby campus and runs for 23 weeks with space for 16 students. But with the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to all of society, BCIT could only allow 8 students at a time.
Lodge 359 Training Coordinator Gord Weel saw there was a need for more apprentices so he approached BCIT and offered them Lodge 359’s Joe Kiwior-Ivan Shook Training Centre in Langley to host another class of 8 students. After a review of the training centre by BCIT it was agreed to allow the training to take place under BCIT’s mandate with a complete understanding and following of the institute’s COVID-19 safety procedures.
Gord Weel said “the training for the Boilermaker trade opens doors for everyone, it is up to the apprentices to take advantage of the career paths that are open for them, but first they must pass the foundation training.” He added “I know what the future for the trade is in BC and it is important that we continue providing those opportunities for people just like the people before me did, for example Joe Kiwior and Ivan Shook.”
With the continuing demand and progress we are seeing in British Columbia, Boilermakers are being resourceful and moving forward with training. Recent recruitment drives and partnerships with BCIT have led to full classes and ensuring that the Boilermaker trade is successful well into the future.
Brother Russ Osborne, a BCIT Boilermaker instructor and long-time 359 member, has been appointed to conduct the training in Langley. Brother Roger Prior, also a 359 member, is training the class at BCIT campus.
One of the first things Osborne did was set up the classroom at the training centre following BCIT’s COVID-19 safety procedures. Each student has been assigned their own desk, chair, toolbox, welding booth and oxy-fuel cutting set up. The students and instructor are 6 feet away from each other and wearing masks when required. The program will finish in March 2021.