The Industry Training Authority (ITA) in the province of BC currently recognizes and supports two streams for welder training, Modular and Apprenticeship.
The Modular stream is for welders who do not have an employer sponsor and consists of the Foundation program (28 wks), the Welder B program (16 wks) and the Welder A program (8 wks).
The Apprenticeship stream is for those who are indentured by an employer sponsor. The apprenticeship consists of Levels 1, 2 and 3 technical training and a fourth level called Multi-Process Alloy Welding (MPAW).
*See below for important Financial Aid information to help you pay for your training!
Welder Foundation (formerly C-Level Welding)
Regardless of the training model or stream that you want to follow, you can start with Welder Foundation and eventually achieve Inter-Provincial (Red Seal) Welder certification. Welder Foundation graduates will receive 300 hours of credit towards the work-based experience that is required for certification in either the Modular or the Apprentice stream. Those following the Apprenticeship stream will receive credit for Level 1 and Level 2 apprentice technical training and return to school as a Level 3 apprentice.
Note that apprentices do not have to take the Foundation program. An employer can indenture an apprentice if they have not taken the Welder Foundation program. These apprentices will receive training on the job from their employer and start their in-school technical training at Level 1.
Welder Foundation is a 28-week introductory program that prepares learners for entry level positions as apprentice welders in most sectors of the economy including manufacturing, construction, transportation, resource extraction, and resource development. Students engage in a variety of classroom and shop activities. In the classroom, they learn theoretical principals of welding. Shop sessions provide the opportunity to learn processes and master practical welding skills.
Students engage in a variety of classroom and shop activities. They will learn basic welding procedures including Oxy-fuel Gas Cutting, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding/Flux Cored Arc Welding, basic Blueprint Reading and basic Metallurgy.
Welder Foundation graduates who wish to follow the Modular stream will look for work as an entry level welder and obtain an additional 700 hours of work-based experience for a total of 1,000 hours before returning to the Welder B program. Those on the Modular stream are not required to be indentured to their employer.
The 16 week Welder B program offers more advanced training on the topics in the Foundation program and also includes training in: Tungsten Arc Welding; and Pipe Welding. Upon successful completion of Welder B and 950 work-place hours, Welders receive a Certificate of Qualification as a B Welder and the B Stamp in their logbook from the Industry Training Authority (ITA). At the end of the Welder B program students will write the Inter-Provincial (Red Seal) Welder exam. Upon passing the Interprovincial exam and the accumulation of 4,500 work-place hours, Welders receive Red Seal, Interprovincial certification.
The Welder A program is 8 weeks long and is for those wishing to gain more advanced skills in pipe, metallurgy, low-alloy electrodes etc. With successful completion of this program and 3,450 work-place hours Welders receive the Certificate of Qualification as an A Welder and the A Stamp in their logbook from the ITA.
Graduates of the Welder Foundation program earn advance credit for Levels 1 and 2 of the Technical Training component of the Welder Apprenticeship. Additionally, they earn 300 hours credit towards the Workplace-Based Training component of their apprenticeship. After completion of the program, it’s recommended that students gain another 2,700 hours of hands-on field experience before returning to school for Level 3 Technical Training.
Levels 1 (8 weeks) and Level 2 (8 weeks) Technical Training in the apprenticeship stream covers similar topics as in the Foundation program. The apprenticeship stream assumes that the apprentice is receiving training on the job so the in-school portion of their training is shorter.
Level 3 Welding is an 10-week program (11-weeks due to ITA Harmonization) for indentured apprentices who have 3,000 hours or more of Workplace-Based Training. Content is similar to Welder B. The apprenticeship stream assumes apprentices are receiving focused training on the job and so the in-school technical training is only 10 weeks long plus one week due to Harmonization (see link above) . Upon completion of Level 3 Welding, students write the Inter-Provincial (Red Seal) Welder exam. Those with a passing grade on the Red Seal exam and 4,500 hours of Workplace-Based Training earn the Welder Certificate of Qualification as well as the Inter-Provincial (IP) Red Seal Standard.
Multi-Process Alloy Welding (MPAW) is a 5 week program that covers material similar to Welder A. Upon successful completion of the MPAW program and a further 900 hours of work-place hours Welders earn the MPAW endorsement and an MPAW Stamp will be placed in their logbook by the ITA.
Multi-Process Alloy Welding is a 5-week, post-apprenticeship, shop-based program for certified welders who wish to expand their skill sets, gain advanced certification, and enhance career opportunities. Admission is restricted to indentured IP-certified welders. Upon completion of the program, successful completion of a standardized exam, and 5,400 hours of field experience, a “Multi-Process Alloy Welding” will be affixed to the welder’s existing Certificate of Qualification.
Upgrader Welding is a self-paced, competency-based training program sanctioned by the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for welders seeking specific ASME trade endorsements. Selkirk College is authorized to grant ASME certifications to welders who demonstrate competence in specific processes. CWB testing is currently not available at Selkirk College.
Financing your Training Through Grants
Don't let a lack of funds stop you before you event get started at Selkirk College. If you have applied for a BC Student Loan for Welding, you are eligible for BC's Access Grant for Labour Market Priorities. You don't have to pay this one back as it is intended to help in-demand programs meet BC's labour market needs. Learn more...
Youth Train in Trades
The Youth Train in Trades program was formerly known as Accelerated Credit Enrolment in Industry Training (ACE IT). It is designed to help secondary school students get a head start on careers in the trades while earning credit towards their high school graduation. Learn more online at Industry Training Authority.
For more information speak with your high school guidance counsellor or get in touch with Selkirk College's Industry and Trades administrative assistant.