Boilermakers play an important role in the maintenance of numerous steel structures, making them in high demand throughout much of North America.
A strong economy is only as good as the infrastructure that supports it. Many manufacturers, extractors of natural resources and other operations need to have sound machines and equipment to conduct their operations. There has been a resurgence in the North American industrial economy as the continent continues to improve since the recession of the late 2000s.
In order for this resurgence to stay as strong as it's been, there needs to be a workforce that can help maintain the performance of industrial infrastructure. Be it the structures in a mine or bridge, or a steam boiler at a factory, there are numerous infrastructures that need to be well maintained, and the only way to ensure that they are is through a sound and well trained workforce.
Boilermaker demand growing
A number of economic factors have been driving the increased demand for boilermakers. The resurgence of the North American economy is certainly one of them. Another is the emergence of new industries. In the U.S., advances in shale oil drilling have led to a massive surge in oil and natural gas extraction processes. In Canada, the oil sands region has emerged as a major driver of economic growth and natural resources.
These emerging economic opportunities mean that companies need more infrastructure to keep their operations working. As a result there is a growing need for workers that can install, maintain and repair this infrastructure. The Boilermakers Union reported that the demand is so strong in Canada and the U.S. that the union has launched a recruitment program to have more people sign on.
"We need the manpower in Canada, so it's a win-win situation – good for contractors, membership, and the [Boilermaker] organization," said Jim Beauchamp, one of the coordinators of the program.
Obtaining the proper training
While demand is strong for boilermakers in both the U.S. and Canada, this is not to say they are willing to take on anyone. There are a number of requirements for boilermakers in order to become certified.
The U.S. Department of Labor noted that a high school diploma and GED are both necessary to enter a training program. From there, apprenticeships programs require that students receive 144 hours of related technical training and 2,000 hours of on the job training.
There are a variety of skills required for boilermakers, many of which require using top of the line tools, but by pursuing this training, the future boilermakers can be sure that they are poised for employment success for years to come.