North Island College welding students learn gas metal arc welding. The welding programs run in Port Alberni and Campbell River this September. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Welding opens doors for Port Alberni grads

Welding program runs at North Island College beginning in September

North Island College welding student April Hamelin never thought she’d end up working as a welder, but just one year out of high school she’s already on her way to her Red Seal designation.

“It was never something I thought about as a career, but it was always something I thought was interesting,” said Hamelin, who began studying welding at Alberni District Secondary School through the ACE-IT program (now called Youth Train in Trades).

“I tried the program just to see if I’d like it and it ended up being one of the best years of my life so far. I enjoyed the people I was around and I liked the projects, so I decided to keep going with it.”

Hamelin graduated high school last year and is now studying welding at NIC’s Port Alberni campus.

It was a similar story for NIC welding student Harrison Bradley.

“I started in high school and picked welding for my work experience and fell in love with it,” said Bradley. “I love building something and being able to stand back and look at it.”

Ivan Peterson, NIC welding instructor, had a similar experience when he discovered the trade. “I got interested in my teens and there was just something about it,” said Peterson. “I knew it was what I wanted to do.”

It’s that passion for the trade that energizes Peterson in the classroom and in the shop.

“It’s really about the students,” he said. “They come in energized and ready to learn. To watch them develop their skills through the program and realize their potential – it’s inspiring.”

The set-up at NIC’s Port Alberni campus also helps with that student connection. “We have top-of-the-line equipment for the students to work on,” noted Peterson. “We have smaller class sizes, which means more one-on-one time with the instructor, which is important as you’re developing new skills.”

Students are often surprised about where the trade can lead, said Peterson. “There’s so many career paths you can go with it,” said Peterson. “Welding inspector, welding planner, estimator, business owner, you can go on and become an engineer. I also encourage students to think about artistic work. Once you’ve got the foundation portion and have a solid background on welding, you can go and expand on it.”

Variety is also the key word when it comes to jobs in welding. “There’s everything from large infrastructure projects to small things, like ramps or docks to artistic work,” said Peterson. “It’s a skill that you can use in almost any way you can imagine. You can really make it your own.”

Peterson, Hamelin and Bradley would encourage anyone interested in welding to try it out. “If you’re at all interested, give it a try,” said Hamelin. “You’ll know whether it’s for you and if it is, you’ll love it.”

NIC’s welding program runs in both Port Alberni and Campbell River, beginning in September.

Find out more: or call 1-800-715-0914.

Just Posted

Body discovered in Port Alberni building

RCMP turn investigation over to BC Coroner’s office

Remains of two people found in Ucluelet

Officials have not said whether or not the remains belong to Ryan Daley or Dan Archbald

First Vancouver Island heat wave of the summer is here

Environment Canada issues a special weather statement as temperatures creep into the 30s

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

Alberni Valley Vintage Tractor Club contributes to charity

Funds raised from hay sales go towards BC Children’s Hospital Foundation

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

North Island College gets $328,000 for forestry education funding

Announcement in Campbell River part of $1 million around B.C.

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Helping B.C.’s helpers cope

The MRT has helped almost 7,000 first responders and street workers in 57 communities in B.C.

Border officials argue B.C. man’s Facebook posts threat to Canada’s security

A B.C. Supreme Court judge acquitted Othman Hamdan of terrorism charges last September

Reena Virk’s mother has died

Both of Virk’s parents became activists against bullying in wake of daughter’s death

Search for capsized fishers near Tofino enters fourth day

“There’s a lot of shock in the community in terms of how we could end up at this place.”

Most Read