KPU brings back metal fabrication trade foundation program

Applications are open for the 23-week program returning in February

KPU's metal fabrication program is returning in February. (KPU press release)

KPU’s metal fabrication program is returning in February. (KPU press release)

Kwantlen Polytechnic University is offering a metal fabrication program once again after seven years. The 23-week program will prepare students for a career in the metal fabrication trade. 

Metal fabricators build, assemble, and repair products made of metals in various manufacturing and construction industries, and are designated as a trade under the interprovincial Red Seal Program. Applications are open to start in February. 

“The program is a wonderful combination of classroom instruction and shop session, so students get the theoretical combined with the practical,” says Laura McDonald, dean of KPU’s Faculty of Trades and Technology.

McDonald says the program is important because it allows students the opportunity to design projects and see how they will impact the industry.  

“Looking at things like manufacturing and construction, architecture, aerospace, all the high rises that are being built right now, metal fabricators are a huge piece of that.”

Students in the program will be provided the skills required to create from a technical drawing into a finished metal product, including how to cut, burn, saw, shear, drill, and shape metal components. 

McDonald says those skills come up in areas such as safety, time management, machinery, and material when people get a position in the industry upon graduation. She says there is also an increasing demand for metal fabricators with a wide range of possible career prospects, such as sheet metal manufacturing or fabricating, welding, and ship building. 

“[Students] can also build careers in more intricate metal work, like crafting tanks for dairy farms or breweries. They can work for artists to produce public art and work with architects to create vibrant community social spaces,” she says. 

“[There’s] definitely plenty of career opportunities beyond what you would originally or initially think, it really depends on the individual.” 

Students graduating from the program will receive credit with the Industry Training Authority as a metal fabricator level one apprentice.  

“Our program gives some 450 work-based hours, so the time in the program also counts towards [students’] work-based hours, which they need to complete their Red Seal certification,” she says. 

Instructors teaching the metal fabrication program are excited to be back after the program went on a break, she says. The program was able to return due to a school district partner requesting to move an existing program from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) to KPU. 

“Students will ultimately leave their mark on significant features of our landscape.”