Hamilton: get ready to meet a new cohort of welders

Welders from WorkLINC went for a welding assessment at Advanced Welding Techniques to have their skills tested to Canadian standards.

Mohamad Alshami is a professional welder from Syria – and is ready to launch in the Hamilton workforce. He’s worked for 10 years doing oil pipeline welding and heavy equipment repair. He comes from a long line of welders – his father was a welder, his grandfather was a welder – his great grandfather too. Their family business that was once very successful – is now in ruins.

“The house, the auto shop, everything has been raided and bombed,” he explained, translated from Arabic.

Alshami recently graduated from WorkLINC Manufacturing – a program at the Immigrants Working Centre for newcomers wanting to launch their career in Canada into the trades. Some are welders, others shoemakers, factory workers, and heavy equipment operators. All come highly skilled, eager to work in their field in Canada.

“It’s an excellent program,” he said. “We learned about safety, how to communicate with colleagues at work and what are our rights and our responsibilities in the workplace.”

Ameen Alissa worked on oil pipelines in Syria for 10 years. Upon graduation from WorkLINC, he hopes to launch his welding career in Hamilton.

“Welding in Canada makes me feel relaxed, happy and confident – like that I have a skill that surpasses language,” explained Said Ismael (translated from Arabic), a WorkLINC participant. He had a welding business in Syria as well, designing and welding doors and windows for residential and commercial buildings for 20 years.

Participants gain certification in Health & Safety and WHMIS, and have the opportunity to meeting with local employers and experts in their field.

WorkLINC participant Mohammad Mousa is learning English while he is preparing for work: “Welding is my skill, so I hope to become a welder in Canada.”

A 2014 Workopolis study found that 68% of Canadian employers are finding it difficult or very difficult to find people with the right skillset that they need to hire. WorkLINC will assist in bridging the labour gap between Canadian employers and newcomers to Canada.

Graduates are eager to get working in their field – some with hopes of starting their own businesses.  Ameen Alissa is one who hopes to start a house building company. “I’m hoping this is a good start. I have experience in construction in Canada,” said Alissa who arrived in Canada just one year ago. “I am getting my welder’s certification as well because if I am working on a house – I want to be able to do everything.”



WorkLINC participants Said Ismael, Mohamad Alshami, Ameen Alissa, and Mohammad Mousa stand outside Advanced Welding Techniques, where they attended welding skills appraisals. / MICHELLE BOTH

For more information on WorkLINC visit our website here.