Partnership opens doors to welding classes for R.F. Staples students

April 8, 2016 - High schools -- including R.F. Staples -- don't always have the facilities to offer welding classes. 

Thanks to a four-year-old partnership with Westlock's Wabash Mfg. Inc., 16 R.F. Staples students have earned credits in high school welding. This year another six students (five boys and one girl) are taking the welding course. 

Pictured here are students (left to right) Sierra White, Kenneth Campbell, Colton Sanftl, Randy Van Dijk, Mark Strach and teacher Andrew Jissink.

In 2012, R.F. Staples had a welding teacher Mr. Jissink, but no space or equipment for him to teach in. ​Until ​ Wabash stepped in. 

"When we learned there was no facility where Westlock high school students could take welding courses, we were thrilled to partner with the school to provide a 'real-life' location for these classes," said Wabash Mfg. Inc. Human Resources Coordinator Tricia Lidberg.

Five times a week Mr. Jissink's class travels to Wabash's welding shop to use the company's equipment and materials. "Without Wabash Mfg. Inc. we wouldn't have a welding program," said R.F. Staples Principal Courtney Lawrance. "The students are earning high school credits and gaining real life experience working in an operating welding shop."

Supporting local trades education is important, says Wabash General Manager Dave ​Mortensen, “As important as academics and scholars are to society for documentation, design and decisions, without tradespersons and support workers, there would be nothing to write with, nowhere to write and nothing to write about.”  

A Trades Showcase Evening is scheduled for April 14 at R.F. Staples at 7 pm. Wabash Mfg. Inc. is one of the local businesses participating in the event. A number of other local employers, NAIT, unions, and the Apprenticeship Board will also be attending. 

Thank you Wabash Mfg. Inc.