Helping Train a New Generation of Pipeline Welders

Enhancing Talent in the Most Elite Welding Category
Aug 8, 2014 8:00 AM ET

Some little girls grow up dreaming about being princesses or models. Not Erin Rideout. For as long as she can remember she has always wanted to travel and get her hands dirty working outside. She’s recently discovered working on pipeline construction projects can tick all those boxes. After roaming around Australia, Mexico and Costa Rica, the tall blonde Ontarian enrolled in a plumbing college. Following a recommendation from one of her teachers, she took a test to get into a pipeline-welding training program organized by the United Association (UA) union in Toronto.

“I am so glad I was taken, I really like it,” says Rideout, one of 12 apprentices in the 11-day course at UA Local 46 in Toronto’s Scarborough district. “What I want to do now is work as a weld helper on pipeline construction, helping welders get the job done. There are so many opportunities in that line of work.

Across Canada, the UA provides the advanced training in pipe cutting and welding that pipefitters, welders and apprentices require to work on complex pipeline construction projects. This week, Erin and her fellow classmates were able to practice their skills on sections of 42’’-diametre heavy-wall steel pipe – a rare commodity for UA training facilities – that was donated by TransCanada to Local 46 and seven other UA locals across the country.

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