Sparking Inclusion – Seaspan Builds Custom Welding Bench for Local Secondary School

March 18,2022

Employees from Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards recently made a special delivery of a custom-built, wheelchair-accessible welding bench to North Vancouver’s Argyle School.

This local secondary school offers a unique range of skills-based courses and work experience options, including metalworking and the Youth Work in Trades program. The program, a part of B.C.’s Industry Training Authority, allows students in Grades 10-12 to earn a paycheque, high school credits and training hours that go towards their trade credentials. 

 The welding booths in Argyle’s metalworking shop posed a challenge for a student, and the school was working on a solution to make the space accessible for not only this student but also future students with disabilities.

“When I had a Grade 8 student, who uses a wheelchair, express interest in signing up for metalworking, we were struggling to find a way to make the area more accessible,“ said Ryan Edgar, metalworking teacher at Argyle. “I reached out to Seaspan looking for a piece of steel for students to weld, but when they heard about our situation, they offered to custom build a solution for us.”

A team of volunteers at Vancouver Shipyards spent 15 hours fabricating a bench that allows a wheelchair to roll under it, enabling users to weld from a seated position. The result was a custom-built welding bench that could be integrated into the school’s metalworking shop to allow this student and future students to fully participate in welding activities.

“Everyone deserves a chance to learn a new skill and be supported by their community,” said Steve Wingate, Trades Workforce Development Supervisor, Vancouver Shipyards. “The skilled trades community is always looking for ways we can spark a young person’s interest in a career in the trades, and I’m so proud that our team at Seaspan was able to make this happen.  It was thanks to many people who contributed their time and expertise, including a donation of a welding helmet and gear from one of our suppliers, ESAB.” 

“We’re really grateful Seaspan was able to make this contribution to our school and make our metalworking course more accessible for current and future students,” added Edgar. “I encourage students to consider going into the trades, and it’s important to Argyle that all students have access to try out these courses. We try to show them the amazing opportunities that are out there, particularly as we have one of the largest shipbuilding companies right here in our backyard.”

Seaspan’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) related work is underway at our Vancouver Shipyards in North Vancouver, where we provide well-paid jobs to hundreds of professionals and skilled tradespeople. Seaspan values diversity and works to foster a culture that is respectful, inclusive, and reflective of all the people who live in our community. We are committed to employment equity, and to the elimination of barriers to the successful careers of women, Indigenous people, members of visible minority groups, and persons with disabilities. Learn more here.