Faculty of Applied Science & Technology
Degree: Welding Fitter
Year of graduation: 1998
Combining Theory with Practice
It’s no secret that this country needs skilled tradespeople. As President and CEO of the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB Group) Doug Luciani is doing his part to help fill the gap.
“With the launch of massive mining, shipbuilding and oil and gas projects in Canada, the demand for welders is at an all-time high. The average age is 56 so training is a critical issue,” explains Doug.
Add in the perception of welding as a less than desirable career choice, particularly on the part of parents, and you have a void that is being felt across the country, says the 1998 Welder Fitter graduate.
But Doug is optimistic about the future. The CWB which regulates welding professionals and companies throughout Canada and abroad, also provides training and promotes the health of the industry through its Canadian Welding Association (CWA) division. Its current focus is fixed on attracting three groups to the welding profession: women, Aboriginals and immigrants. “We are working with high schools to return skilled trades to the curriculum and to help encourage more girls to enter a trade,” says Doug, adding that women currently make up a very small percentage of the welders in Canada. “In general, we all need to do a better job encouraging both girls and boys to learn welding.” Another positive trend is a shift on the part of parents “who are realizing that trades offer their children well-paying, transferrable jobs,” he says.
Doug himself was exposed to the trades early in life. The son of a glass cutter for the construction industry, he was the first in his family to attend university, earning a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1990. Doug has since become a ‘triple threat’ in the welding industry, amassing technical skill and business management expertise to accompany his theoretical knowledge.
After a stint at Caterpillar following graduation, Doug joined the Milton-based CWB in 1991 where he found his niche. “I worked in every area of the CWB; I loved everything the organization stood for – education and safety. I soon realized that I needed the practical side to marry up with the theory,” says Doug.
So, four nights a week and Saturdays he travelled to Sheridan, gaining a Welder Fitter certificate in 1998. (He had already obtained a Sheridan Business Management Studies certificate in 1994). It was well worth the effort, maintains Doug. “I loved my programs; the welding instructors were amazing. Plus, having the practical skill gives me some additional credibility amongst our clients and members.”
A true lifelong learner, Doug went on to receive an MBA in 2003 from the University of Western Ontario, as well as the Institute of Corporate Directors designation in 2010.
It’s all part of keeping on top of the ever-changing requirements in today’s workplace, Doug says. “In the old days, welding didn’t have the technology behind it. It’s not enough today to know how to run an arc, welders need an understanding of automation and robotics which have become integral part of the manufacturing process.”
Regardless of what lies beyond the horizon for the manufacturing industry, some fundamental rules for success remain the same, Doug believes. “You will overcome any challenge with a good work ethic and desire to learn. Never be afraid to try new things and to fail. I learned my biggest lessons from my mistakes.”
Learn more about Sheridan’s Welding Techniques program.