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Sparks are going to fly this weekend (3 photos)

Friday, June 06, 2014   by: Kenneth Armstrong

Ironworker apprentices from all over Ontario will take part in the Ontario District Council Apprenticeship Competition being held at Sault College on Saturday.

Apprentices spent Friday doing last minute cramming for the written and practical tests, the top three who place move on to the international competition this September in Toronto.

Six union locals across Ontario sent apprentices to compete in the events, which include rigging, rod tying, welding and climbing.

Armand Charbonneau, the business Local 786 in Sudbury was on-hand to observe the competition.

"You can't get on a job site or the bidders list if you don't have a really good safety record. That's what we are teaching to the apprentices, we want them to go home safe at the end of the day to their families," said Charbonneau.

Apprentice Dustin Elliott is competing for the second time and enjoys the competition.

"It lets you practice things we don't always do, like we don't do too much rebar time down here," said Elliott, who has one more term at Sault College before finishing his  6500-hour apprenticeship.

In the most physical event of the competition, apprentices will climb straight up a 35 foot column.

"It takes a bit of a cowboy. Every one of them has the adventure chromosome," says Sault College instructor Cory Burke, adding that an ironworker can't be afraid of heights.

During his apprenticeship Elliott has already worked on many job sites, but has one type of project in particular that he would like to work on.

"I want to build a bridge someday," said Elliott.

(PHOTO: Ironworker apprentice Dustin Elliott seen June 6, 2014 practicing welding prior to the Ontario District Council Apprenticeship Competition, which will be held at Sault College on Saturday. Armstrong)

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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
rockbanger 6/6/2014 8:19:47 PM Report

Too bad local companies like Essar do not want to use apprentices.

Essar wants only non ticketed people with trade type experience so they may pay them as little as possible.

Sault Ste. Marie is becoming a third world city very quickly.

Good luck to all the apprentices,
funkywalker 6/6/2014 10:54:09 PM Report

I won't concentrate on negativity and put a negative spin on this. I think it's great that the Ironworkers are investing in their future and putting out skilled tradespeople.
Wide Open 6/6/2014 11:01:04 PM Report

Rockbanger your an idiot, get your facts straight befor you run your mouth .. Essar currently has several apprenticeship programs underway and this has been going on for several years ... You need to be a "licensed" tradesman to work at Essar.
PTAR 6/7/2014 9:01:38 AM Report

little hint " rockbanger " .... people who use (your) for (you are) should not call others idiots .... just saying
rockbanger 6/7/2014 9:04:42 AM Report

Wide Open

Yep your mouth is wide open.

Essar's apprenticeship program is a farce. There are very few apprentices at this time... Essar could use 25-30 apprentices in each trade.... The actual Essar trades are very low in numbers... When a welder for example retires he/she is not replaced.... The following trades are all short staffed at this time and could use a good apprenticeship program. Welders/Ironworker/Erectors/Mechanics/Machinists/Electricians.....

Essar relies on outside contractors..

Essar does have an apprenticeship program but have no apprentices on it. They did put a handful of young people through about 5 years ago.

The contractors that come in are usually very old or retired ex steelworkers (with needed experience)..But lately Essar will take anyone. The contractors are untrained but carry a tool-bag. As Essar do not pay bills they are scrounging for any trades services.

My acquaintance who works in the primary area tells me that on down days they have a number of unskilled trades companies come in and perform substandard work. Third world skills for third world pay.

Yep Your LOUDMOUTH is Wide Open.
rockbanger 6/7/2014 9:07:05 AM Report


For this blog site...

your--- you are --- yur --- yer --- you're

Pretty much equal.
Wide Open 6/7/2014 1:47:55 PM Report

Rockbanger , sounds like you have banged your head a few times on that rock you speak of... Me friends said bla bla bla ... Get a life ... Idiot.
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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