Celebrating 25 Years of CLAC Training in Alberta!
/ Author: Kari-Anne March 755 Rate this article:

Celebrating 25 Years of CLAC Training in Alberta!

A holistic approach to training and close connection with industry keeps us at the forefront of change

By Kari-Anne March, College and Marketing Coordinator, CLAC Career Development College

The year is 1996. CLAC as a union in Alberta is 32 years old. Overwaite Foods has just added its 11th store in the Alberta market. There are 43 industrial construction signatory companies across the province. Oilsands production through Syncrude and Suncor breaks the 100-million-barrel mark. The Oil Sands Safety Association is created. Safety is in the air. And training is becoming a key factor.

Ten CLAC signatory companies join in discussions with the CLAC National Board about the necessity of establishing a training component within the union for these purposes:

•  To create an additional benefit for union members.

•  To support a better-prepared workforce for companies.

•  To establish a safer and more productive workforce for industry.

This was just the beginning for CLAC Training – Alberta. What initially started as a two-instructor office with a computer lab providing only 476 registrations in its first year, has grown tremendously in the last 25 years. In 2011, registrations skyrocketed to over 24,000 registrations. In 2015, CLAC Training – Alberta reached an all-time high of almost 45,000 registrations in a single year.

By 2003, several signatory companies approached CLAC Training to expand our training services and build a welding facility. Never shy to adapt to the needs of industry, CLAC Training obliged. Our original 7-booth welding bay in Edmonton quickly evolved to a 12-booth welding shop, and on January 5, 2015, we opened our impressive 37-booth CLAC Welder Testing & Training Centre, which you see today on the corner of 149 St & 118 Ave. 

Our expansion into welder testing and training has afforded us the opportunity to not only test and train local welders, but to also become highly involved in our communities through partnered initiatives such as career camps, Wicked Welding, and High School 2 Hard Hats.

“The best part of the job is my interaction with welders of all levels and backgrounds,” says Tedd Gunn, welding shop manager. “I have the opportunity to share my knowledge, skills, and experiences, not only with apprentices but with young people looking to start in the trades. 

“I have accumulated way too many stories over the years, but one I am extremely proud of what is happening right now. A long-time CLAC member was severely burnt in a welding accident in early 2020, and I have been working with him closely through his healing process to help him get back in the trade. His resilience and dedication to the trade is truly remarkable and I am honoured to support him in his recovery.”

Beyond our significant investment into the welding trade, CLAC Training has also worked tirelessly to expand in other areas. In addition to our modern training centres in Calgary and Edmonton, we have built relationships with over 200 training partners nationwide, ensuring access to quality training for our members no matter their location. We have sourced, vetted, and even developed over 100 online courses covering everything from site access to leadership training. 

We run one of the largest scaffolder training programs in the province and operate a small trades college to attract and support new apprentices throughout their careers. And we have brought together an incredible team of knowledgeable booking specialists, highly skilled instructors, brilliant subject matter experts, and partnership coordinators to ensure that, no matter what your training need, CLAC Training is your go-to source for training across Alberta.

While we have grown substantially, the mission under which we operate has never changed. Through quality, reliable training services, CLAC Training – Alberta works to

•  advance career and job opportunities for Albertans,

•  build long term sustainability and capacity for CLAC signatory partners, and

•  create a reputation of training and learning excellence in and for our communities.

As we look toward the future, CLAC Training – Alberta strives to position ourselves as workforce development leaders in Alberta and beyond. We will provide career pathway services that allow our members to not only get the safety tickets required for work, but the training to help them advance their careers, change their careers, and develop the overall skills to be leaders within their workplaces.

“We will be the leader in the development of tools to ensure that work sites are not only safe, but that each company has a positive safety culture that flows to all areas of their company and their lives,” says Brad Bent, training director. “We will continue to engage our members and companies in developing a relevant and agile system to deliver the training and skill development courses that they need now and into the future.”

We will continue listening to our members, companies, and partners as we adapt to the constant changes in industry and technology. Our team is prepared to adapt to any and all challenges of our industry, including those brought on by COVID-19, unemployment, and the significant changes to Alberta’s industrial landscape. Our holistic approach to training and close connection with industry keeps us at the forefront of change. We remain confident in our ability to overcome any challenges that come our way.

We would like to thank all members, trainees, employers, and partners who have worked alongside us these last 25 years! Please continue to follow us and join in the celebrations, promotions, and giveaways as we lead up to our official anniversary date on December 6, 2021.

On behalf of all of us on the CLAC Training – Alberta team, cheers to the next 25 years!  

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