Apprenticeship training is the fundamental educational tool of the skilled trades. Supervised training on the jobsite provides the practical application while classroom theory is the essential element for safe, effective and comprehensive achievement of a skill.
Apprenticeships toward the skilled disciplines in the Ontario Pipe Trades are available to anyone with a strong work ethic and a general aptitude for hands-on tasks.
The pipe trades belong to the larger construction sector and relates to the building, maintenance and repair services of plumbing, heating, sprinkler fitting, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. Apprenticeship training is integral to maintaining excellence in our skilled disciplines. As such, we invest over $100 million annually to ensure that the expertise and knowledge of today’s skilled leaders are passed on to tomorrow’s generation of professionals. Our investment in the future allows the apprentice to train with leading edge equipment under the guidance of seasoned professionals. When a certain level of expertise is satisfied, the apprentice moves on-the-job with a pre-determined wage scale, to gain hands-on experience through mentoring. With 17 state-of-the-art training centers across Ontario, we train: Plumbers Steam/Pipefitters Gasfitters Sprinkler System Installation mechanics Refrigeration & Air Conditioning mechanics Instrumentation mechanics Welders
With roots dating back to ancient Rome, civilized worlds have long relied on plumbing for a safe and healthy living environment. Affecting the everyday on even the most basic levels, plumbers design, install and maintain systems for use in residential, commercial and industrial settings. Their work is vital, whether it relates to a primary water supply, a nuclear power station or the connection from drain to sink in a home.
While the fundamentals haven’t changed, a plumber’s tools – the equipment and materials – have evolved considerably. Design aspects of the trade are mostly computerized (Auto CAD) and high tech tools are commonly used to help estimate piping system requirements and cost. Indeed, the laptop has earned a spot on the plumber’s tool belt.
A steamfitter will organize, assemble, fabricate and repair piping systems that carry water, steam and fuel in the heating, cooling & lubricating processes of plumbing systems. This is a physically demanding career that takes steamfitters both indoors and out.
Working with power tools, heavy equipment and scaffolding on the typical jobsite does increase the risk of injury in such a trade, but through safety training especially through the assistance of the Construction Safety Association of Ontario risk is dissipated or eliminated. Experienced steamfitters often advance to supervisory positions and with additional training can seamlessly transfer their skills to plumbing or welding and vice versa.
Gasfitting is a discipline that draws on two distinct talents. The first is the technical proficiency required to install, repair, maintain and inspect natural gas pipe and equipment. The second skill requires interpersonal abilities since this trade consistently involves face-to-face interaction with the end user. Indeed, the customer friendly gasfitter is considered ‘ambassador’ of the industry at large.
As commonplace as heating and air conditioning, household appliances – furnaces, barbeques or stoves – natural gas is integral to the day to day. Gasfitters install natural gas lines in homes, businesses and industrial sites. They also install and maintain related equipment such as meters, regulators, valves and burners.
Sprinkler System Installers
Ontario law requires fire-protection systems within all industrial buildings, such as manufacturing plants and airports as well as many residential buildings, namely high rise apartments and condominiums. Lobbying is continuing to make sprinkler systems mandatory on all residential buildings.
A sprinkler and fire protection installer will plan, lay out, install and maintain piping systems that protect against the spread of fires by spraying water, foam or CO2. The installer will assemble metal or plastic piping and will also install hydrants, underground water supplies and standpipes.
By virtue of their scope and critical purpose, these pipes must be meticulously maintained – as part of any good fire safety practices, they are thankfully not needed often in the prevention of material damage or loss of life, but this also means that they must be ready to perform without fail from an otherwise dormant state.
Refrigeration / Air Conditioning Mechanics
The refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic will install and service domestic, commercial, or industrial refrigeration and air conditioning units and systems. Equipment must be connected to ductwork, refrigerant lines and electrical power sources – working knowledge of each is part of the skill set.
This mechanic will also install air and water filters and electrical wiring to compressor and circulatory fans while testing lines to detect leaks and adjust controls for optimum performance and efficiency. If equipment breaks down, the refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic is trained in the repair and/or replacement of controls, electrical wiring and other parts.
The instrumentation mechanic is responsible for installing, maintaining, calibrating and programming the monitoring instruments and control apparatus for various machines and process equipment.
Clearly this field is expansive – instrumentation includes indicators, recording devices, control loops and computers. The instrument may use signal transmission, telemetry or digital devices while the machinery controls may be pneumatic, hydraulic, electronic, mechanical, fluidic, optical or chemical. The instrumentation mechanic must be fluent in all these disciplines.
The welder takes portions of pipe or associated pieces of metal and permanently joins them with metal filler using various forms of metal fusion according to specifications. Applications involve pipe that is integral to new building construction or ongoing maintenance.
The welder assists in the layout construction and joining by fusion of pipe formations. He may also cut and form metal components that are necessary for the installation of the piping or equipment needed for on site or pre-fabrication construction. Welding is a skill that requires extensive hands-on training.