COURTENAY, B.C.- North Island College welding grads are in high demand across Northern Vancouver Island.

Brayden Austin is one of those grads. He’s currently working full-time at D&D Services Welding and Fabricating in Courtenay. Austin started training for his career as a grade 12 Youth in Trades student.

“I like the hand-on work and always doing different things,” Austin said in a statement released by North Island College.

“You could go to Alberta and do pipe welding all day, just welding the same thing. But in a shop like this [D&D], you’re doing everything.”

A co-worker of Austin’s, Ryan Ware, is also a North Island College graduate.

“It’s an awesome program with awesome teachers. I learned a huge amount,” he said.

A typical day for the two could include fixing an aluminum boat, making guardrails for barges or repairing farm equipment.

“There’s something different every day,” Ware said.

The duo’s boss, Dan Dilks, said he looks for well-rounded employees. His business does everything from marine and aquaculture welding to structural steel and equipment repair work.

Ocean Pacific Marine Store & Boatyard’s Tyrone Monteith said demand for workers can ebb and flow depending on the season. However, he said that employment for welders in the marine industry is “getting busier”, and the company is always on the lookout for new talent.

“If you have the right skills and the right attitude, we’ll even go so far as to create work over the winter so as not to lose someone,” Monteith said in the NIC release.

The BC Labour Market Outlook for 2017 expects 2800 new jobs for welders and related machine operators to open up in the next 10 years.

NIC instructor Ross Holden said that, “welding training opens doors to a very interesting and lucrative career.”

“Welding can be an excellent stepping stone to lots of career paths, like metal fabrication, welding inspection and supervision, teaching or owning your own business,” he said.

“Once you have your training, there are plenty of options to explore.”

For more information on welding and other trade programs at NIC, visit nic.bc.ca/trades.