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Welding students get a leg up in Kirkland Lake

Ontario Centres of Excellence funding applied research work

At the Kirkland Lake campus of Northern College, a new initiative is helping to fund research projects being worked on by third-year welding students.

Funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) will help pay for materials, equipment, travel expenses, and wages in relation to the research they’re doing with private partners.

The OCE has provided a total of $80,000 to the college's Innovation Hub, which will be divvied up amongst multiple programs.

“Students participating in applied research and business improvement opportunities acquire essential and relevant skills in their field of study,” said Amy McKillip, Northern College’s manager of applied research, entrepreneurship and innovation, in an Aug. 20 news release.

“This provides them with critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and communication skills, as well as work-relevant networks and resume building opportunities.”

Through the Innovation Hub, Northern College partners with private enterprise on applied research projects that help companies develop new innovations. The students get hands-on experience working in the industry, while the companies get assistance in furthering their product or service.

Examples of the type of work the welding students will be working on include researching low-energy welding processes, studying the effectiveness of various shielding gases, increasing the deposition rate in submerged arc welding, and testing the joint strength of fibre-reinforced plastics.

“Working collaboratively with industry partners, our students will have the opportunity to forge strong connections within the Ontario manufacturing sector,” said Joshua Fuller, the program coordinator for Northern’s school of welding engineering technology, in the release.

“These relationships enable student-led technical research projects to play a part in shaping technological advances within industry.”

Fuller said several students have landed jobs in the industry following completion of the projects.