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CWB Welding Foundation, founded by the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB), is a not-for-profit focused on breaking barriers and bridging skill gaps in welding and welding-related industries. Their Women of Steel(TM): Forging Forward initiative is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Women Employment Readiness Pilot Program and includes the delivery of 14 pre-employment programs across Canada, ultimately to increase the number of women in welding and joining, fabrication, and other skilled trades.

Project Summary

After receiving funding to deliver 14 pre-employment programs across Canada, the CWB Foundation set out to encourage and empower women to explore a career in welding and welding-related industries. They partnered with Fanshawe Corporate Training Solutions (CTS) for support to recruit and deliver this fully-funded 16-week training program that provides participants with a flexible schedule in a safe, supportive environment.

The Challenge

The CWB Foundation was tasked with providing specialized training to marginalized communities, which required finding the appropriate trainers, facilities and delivery methods to do so. Fanshawe CTS was selected as one of the 14 cohorts across Canada to deliver a Women of Steel pre-employment program. All who identify as a woman and/or non-binary, including those from racialized or marginalized groups such as Indigenous, Black, newcomers, 2SLGBTQI+, women with disabilities, or with a prolonged detachment from the labour force, were encouraged to apply. 

Participants would need to learn through a blended format of online practical theory and hands-on welding training to ensure they had the essential skills to be successful. With short training periods in several welding forms, they could obtain up to 8 CWB welding certifications in various positions with multiple processes.

[Fanshawe] developed an interactive and supporting environment for the participants to succeed. The training not only included stellar welding instructors to teach the skills needed, but they also provided simulator time, soft skills, and employability training to help students prepare for their upcoming job practicum with the goals of leading to employment, apprenticeship, or continued post-secondary.

- Trish Trenter,
Project Manager, CWB Welding Foundation

The Solution

Less than a week after being approved as a delivery partner, Fanshawe CTS had organized trainers, lab spaces, and a flexible hybrid delivery to accommodate a cohort of 20 participants at the St. Thomas campus. After receiving more than 175 inquiries, Fanshawe was asked to host a second cohort, which launched with 12 participants at the Woodstock campus. Fanshawe is the only partner that extended the program to onboard participants part-time for the first three weeks to support them in transitioning into a full-time program. 

Fanshawe CTS introduced a welding simulator to teach foundational concepts before entering the welding shop to build the participants’ confidence. The program’s various stages helped prepare for multiple pathways, including employment, apprenticeship, or post-secondary education. Plus, wraparound supports were provided for childcare, transportation, mental health, wellness, employment preparation and counselling, cultural competencies, living expenses, and one-on-one sessions.

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