New partnership produces strong weld

April 12, 2022

Fusing metal together is an art form for students in RRC Polytech’s Welding program.

They’ve learned it takes patience, precision and practice to join metals properly, and the resulting products have incredible strength and durability. A new partnership with West End Radiators is teaching them that similar principles apply when forging relationships, and that reinforcing bonds with industry benefits both students and prospective employers.

“Our success at RRC Polytech has been built on strong, dynamic partnerships — with communities, industry, employers and applied research partners. Our partners want to work with us because of our ability to solve problems, train talent and respond to labour market needs,” says Shylyte Bloodworth, Program Manager, Electrical, Mechanical and Manufacturing at RRC Polytech.

“Having a former student be the link to a new collaboration speaks to how quickly our graduates make an impact in the workforce.”

Gail Batoon was working as a labourer in shipping at West End Radiators a few years ago when he decided to upgrade his education and further his career. He quit his job and began RRC Polytech’s Welding program. In less than a year, he had been hired back in an elevated role as a welder.

“We value integrity, quality service and teamwork, so we were thrilled when Gail chose to return to us after his training,” says Wayne Feeleus, Director of Sales and Business Development for West End Radiators. “His workmanship is excellent and expanding our staff allows us to produce more parts that we can trust to stand up to Manitoba winters.”

A follow-up call with Welding Instructor Jason Church led to another return for Batoon — this time as a mentor in the classroom, with an added level of partnership for the company.

“It came together quickly; West End Rad needed a specific side bracket for radiators on Kenworth trucks,” Church explains. “They provided the raw materials and the design, and Gail visited the class earlier to provide a hands-on demonstration of what was required.”

RRC Polytech Welding student taking measurements in skilled trades labThe Work to Learn as a Welder course is designed to help students learn fabrication with live industry parts, which — upon inspection — will be put immediately into use by West End Radiators. The students worked in teams to double-check each other’s work as they developed and mastered their new skills.

“It was intimidating at first, you could feel the pressure,” says student Tyler Chornopski. “The measurements and blueprints meant it had to be exact, but the demonstration was huge for me. It gave me so much confidence knowing that I could make something that is industry quality.”

Staff from West End Radiators visited the class last week and Batoon performed the final inspection on their projects. All 14 students proudly presented welded assemblies that made the grade.

“The students did an exceptional job,” says Feeleus. “We had a need and they met it. We’ve made smaller donations before, but this endeavor was such a win-win, we’re already looking at ways we can extend this partnership in the future.”

The demand for skilled tradespeople remains high and RRC Polytech continues to transform its learning model to meet the current and emerging needs of students, employers and communities.

The College’s next Welding program begins Aug. 29, 2022.