CLAC has been a proud supporter of Skills Canada Alberta programs and initiatives, including the Provincial Skills Canada Competition and Skills Exploration Days. To celebrate our partnership, we visited CLAC’s Edmonton office to learn more about their programs, and to check in with some of our Provincial competitors.
Who is CLAC?
While many people may be familiar with CLAC’s welding programs, they offer courses, training and support in many other areas. “We represent everyone on a construction site”, noted Brad Bent, Director of Training at CLAC. “We meet the needs of our stakeholders, so a lot of our programs focus on work readiness. Those programs include health and safety courses, first-aid, pre-employment courses and other introductory programs.”
A group of learners participate in one of CLAC's First Aid Courses
CLAC offers training in Welding, Electrical, Scaffolding, Insulation and much more. Approximately 40,000 learners take part in CLAC programs each year. “We are very holistic in our approach to training”, explains Bent. “We want to be involved in people’s careers from start to finish. That’s why we offer entry-level programs and training in areas like workplace planning and project management. If people want to move into different career opportunities in their industry, we can help them on that career path.”
Students and Instructors from one of CLAC's Welding classes working together.
CLAC and Skills Canada Alberta share the common objective of ensuring young people have a good understanding of the trades, and the various opportunities available in trade careers. “We are very committed to providing young people with the opportunity to positively experience the trades,” explains Bent. “So many young people are being pushed to make decisions about their future in high school. When they are making those initial career decisions, we want to make sure that the trades are part of that conversation. And I think that through our partnership with Skills Canada Alberta, we are able to get into areas with junior high and high school students that we ourselves would never be able to get into.”
A WorldSkills Calgary 2009 jersey hangs in the halls of CLAC.
CLAC Supports their Competitors
CLAC often hires apprentices, hoping to provide a comfortable work and learning space for people learning to master their trade. This year, two such apprentices are competing in the 2018 Provincial Skills Canada Competition. Both Joel Moerman and Cody Gaudette have competed in Skills Canada Competitions before. Cody has competed twice in Secondary Welding, taking home the silver medal at last year’s Provincial Competition, while Joel took home gold and went on to join Team Alberta at last year’s National Competition.
“I loved it. The first year I did it, it was more of a learning experience. My second year, I came in first at regionals, so it was motivating to work hard for Provincials”, explains Gaudette. “Skills is what drove me to become a welder because I was doing so well at it.”
Both Joel and Cody are thankful to have such a supportive employer in CLAC. Moerman explains “Every day they give me practice time, and they let us stay after work and practice as well. That’s been a huge help to me.” Gaudette adds, “I don’t know anywhere else where we could get this kind of practice time.”
When asked about why they enjoy working at CLAC, both Joel and Cody agreed that the instructors and staff are what make CLAC special and unique. “We have a lot of great staff here, and I get a lot of great advice”, notes Moerman. Gaudette says that “The instructors are awesome, and they really know their stuff. They listen to you and try to find a way to help each person and teach everyone differently. I’ve learned a lot since I started here.”
Provincial Skills Canada Competitors Joel Moerman (left) and Cody Gaudette (right) both work and practice at CLAC.
We spoke with Tedd Gunn, Welding Shop Coordinator at CLAC, about his experience working with Joel and Cody. He explains, “They have a great work ethic. And both have a lot of drive and skill. They have a vision of where they want to go with their career. And they both want to go to WorldSkills in Russia.” Gunn says that when Joel and Cody placed first and second at Provincials last year, he knew right away he wanted to hire both of them. “Skills is a phenomenal thing, you have to get out and see it. Go look, it’s free! Everything you watch competitors do is phenomenal.”
Skills Canada Alberta is proud to continue our partnership with CLAC, as we share the common goal of educating young people in our province about the careers available to them in the trades and technologies, and we both recognize the importance of providing a platform for students to develop and refine their skills. We look forward to our continued partnership.