Local 146 creates WorkSmart program

Hands-on training at the L-146 WorkSmart program includes learning how to safely set up and use oxy-acetylene cutting equipment.

Training exposes students to Boilermaker and welding trades

HOW DO YOU know if you’re cut out to be a Local 146 (Edmonton, Alberta) Boilermaker? Answering that question became a lot easier for prospective members last year when the lodge launched a new program called WorkSmart.

The two-week pre-apprentice/pre-employment program exposes students to industry environments, safety issues, and workplace culture in the Boilermaker trade. WorkSmart combines theory and hands-on skills that will prepare students for gainful employment in the Boilermaker trade.

People not currently indentured in the apprenticeship program who think they may want to become a Boilermaker can enroll for the class after completing the local’s Apprentice Recruitment Information Seminar, a three-hour briefing describing the Boilermaker trade, job expectations, union philosophy, and the dispatch system. At the end of the seminar, the lodge invites attendees to complete an apprenticeship program application, a questionnaire, and an aptitude exam. The local’s apprentice selection committee then reviews all applications, and successful applicants can attend the WorkSmart Program.

“All individuals who have successfully completed the program are now in the process of becoming Local 146 apprentices and members.”

— j’Amey Holroyd, L-146
Apprentice Administrator

Local 146 offered its first two-week WorkSmart course in October 2007. The lodge conducts the classes once a month and limits registrants to 12 per class.

“We like to keep the classes small so we can have the maximum amount of instructor/student interaction,” explained L-146 Apprentice Administrator j’Amey Holroyd. “We want to facilitate the learning as effectively as possible while maintaining beginner safety and confidence.”

The local conducts the classes at its training center, located on the same property as the L-146 administration and dispatch building in Edmonton. John Fletcher, pre-apprenticeship coordinator and instructor, and Ron Jacobs, instructor, teach the program. Jason Carroll serves as an alternate/back-up instructor.

Classroom lecture makes up fifty percent of the course outline and allows for multiple guest speakers (apprenticeship coordinators, dispatcher, business manager, and trades people). The curriculum includes such topics as rigging concepts, measuring, materials, trade-related components, workplace culture, substance abuse prevention, financial planning, and identifying jobsite hazards.

The other half of the program provides practical, hands-on experience in the areas of flame cutting, electric arc welding, common industry tools, rigging and hoisting, outdoor work in Alberta, confined space entry, and working at heights.

Local 146 advertises the WorkSmart program at trade shows, through flyers and posters, in their newsletter the Expander, and through word of mouth by their members.

“Currently we have a 97 percent success rate in course completion,” Holroyd reports. “We have set high standards for attitude, skill, and attendance during the two-week WorkSmart training. All individuals who have successfully completed the program are now in the process of becoming Local 146 apprentices and members.”

For more information about the WorkSmart program, please contact the Local 146 Learning Center at 780-451-5999.