A new program meant to prepare people in Arviat for jobs in mining and construction has just graduated its first students.

Forty people applied to take the eight-week welding trade readiness course, which taught students about proper safety measures and how to weld.

Only eight were accepted and seven have graduated.

“After graduating the program, we all applied for jobs to mining companies exploring around Nunavut,” says graduate Rene Aggark. “So if they require welders, our names are in.”

The program was organized by the hamlet, Agnico Eagle Mines, and Northern College, which is based in Northern Ontario.

Arviat welding shop

The shop where the first welding trade readiness course took place. (Courtesy of Roseanna Alareak)

The hamlet says it will run the program again.

Now that the welding course is over, the lab is being used for a diamond drilling training program.

And is seeking a constructive use of the welding equipment.

“We are looking at other potential uses for it,” says the hamlet’s community economic development officer, Keith Collier.

“Whether it be community projects such as building garbage cans, maybe partnering with the high school to see if they want to do some kind of a trades program with some of their students who may be interested in welding or some of those kinds of things."

During its training, the class designed and built a seal and fish cleaning station for the community.