Schools Training

Welding the Mind and Body with Metalwork Apprenticeships

22 JUL 2012
Career Path : Apprenticeships

If you’re looking for a career that combines precision thinking, an eye for detail, meticulous dexterity, physical strength, and above all, the satisfaction of creating valuable and useful products, consider welding or another mechanical trade. There are many professions in this field which have long and challenging histories, being behind some of the greatest technological innovations.


Some careers to consider are:


·         Welder

·         Steamfitter or pipefitter

·         Sheet metal worker


Like most old professions, jobs in metalwork (and today, an increasing amount of plastic and polymer) are often taught through the apprenticeship system. Because of the exact specialized knowledge and skill of these trades, you wouldn’t trust your education to anyone but the most experienced teachers. In the apprenticeship system, these teachers are always tradespeople first, and instructors second. This is not to say that the best welders or steamfitters do not make good instructors in themselves. Thanks to the many colleges and vocational schools that have fully-integrated apprenticeship programs, you can be sure you’ll get the best of both a learned education, and applied practical work experience.


Welding is no doubt an extremely exciting job due to the dangers associated with working with extreme heats and molten material. No amount of college learning can prepare the future welder for all of the hazards and safety precautions that are part of the job. This is precisely why a welding apprenticeship is the only way to not only train the mind and body, but also hone the instinct required to be safe and responsive to any possible danger.


No doubt practice makes perfect. Once a good deal of preparation has been completed regarding safety and cautiousness, next is exactitude in motor skills and coordination. While some people may be naturally more dexterous than others, when it comes to handling welding equipment, it is pure practice and training that makes for a job well-done. Without the transition phase between school and work provided by apprenticeship training, an aspiring welder may never get the freedom to sometimes make mistakes before they seriously count. Mistakes are part of any great learning process, and learning is the primary job of the apprentice.   


One might have a keen mind and fascination for metallurgy, thermodynamics, and chemistry. There is no doubt that welders, steamfitters and sheet metal workers must enjoy expanding their knowledge. But many jobs in these fields also demand great physical strength. Attending a college with welder, steamfitter, or sheet metal worker apprenticeship programs is not only a great way to keep in shape. It will also let you know your own boundaries in terms of endurance to physical strain. After your apprenticeship, you might discover you prefer the theoretical angle, but at least you will have that invaluable experience from the other side.  


Whether grooving metals and thermoplastics, fabricating and laying out piping, or bending, curling, and cutting sheets of metal, college and apprenticeship programs is how to prepare the body, mind and instincts needed to succeed.



Visit Mohawk College for more information on steamfitter apprenticeships and other apprenticeship programs.