ATAC to pay tuition costs at BCIT

Instructor Al Bennett (l.) oversees Boilermaker training at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Students who qualify can attend 23-week Boilermaker Foundation Program

THE APPRENTICESHIP TRADE Advancement Committee (ATAC), a joint venture of Local 359 (Vancouver, British Columbia) and Boilermaker employers, has agreed to pay the tuition costs for those interested in participating in the Boilermaker Foundation Program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

The ATAC decided to pick up the costs when it became difficult to fill a classroom with enough people willing to pay the nearly $3,000 price tag for the 23-week course.

“The boilermaking trade is not as well known as some other trades, but the value we supply to our clients constructing, maintaining, and repairing their industrial infrastructure in British Columbia is second to none,” said L-359 BM-ST Carl Ellsworth. “We need more Boilermakers. Once the word gets out about us picking up the tuition — and they see the excellent wages, benefits, and great career opportunities the industry has to offer — we will be able to fill the void that is being created due to retirement and the increasing work picture.”

The first class of 16 students sponsored by the ATAC began classes on March 25. To qualify for the financial support, each student took an assessment exam and was interviewed by ATAC members to see if they met BCIT’s entrance requirements.

“There is a lot of competition out there for tradespeople,” said Al Bennett, a BCIT instructor for the Boilermaker program. “Picking up the tuition gives [the Boilermaker] industry a leg up on enticing people to their trade.”

BCIT instructor Russ Osborne is impressed by ATAC’s class sponsorship. “This will cause other industries to look over their shoulders and take notice of the Boilermaker industry again leading the way in trades training.”

Joe Kiwior, training coordinator for the Boilermaker industry in British Columbia and a former BCIT instructor, enjoys working with young people who have a strong desire to learn and move forward with their lives.

“Training is the backbone of our industry and we have a 50-year history of apprenticeship,” said Kiwior. “Picking up the tuition cost is another example of how we are demonstrating how much we value training and providing highly-skilled tradespeople to our clients.”

To learn more about the BCIT Boilermaker Foundation Program, visit, or contact Kiwior at 604-291-8237.