by Heidi Riley
Charlottetown Metal Products (CMP) designs, manufactures, and installs stainless steel hygienically designed food processing equipment for the food processing industry. Some customers include Cavendish Farms, McCain’s, and Hostess, as well as many others.
In November 2021, CMP employed 150 people. “CMP sees a strong demand for its products and will require more skilled people to successfully manage this growth,” says James Gillelan, CMP Operations Manager.
James says he has seen the Welder/Fabricator workforce more than double in the four years he has been employed by CMP.
- Welder/Fabricators are always in demand
- Project Managers with an Engineering degree
- Machine Operator positions require personnel who have experience working in construction and with measurements, and understand how to bend and cut materials and operate equipment such as laser and waterjet machines.
- Designers to work in the offices in Charlottetown and Moncton
- Administrative positions
Part of the hiring process for Welder/Fabricators requires performing a welding test to demonstrate skill. “Those who pass the welding test and meet our expectations will be offered a job.”
There are approximately six female Welder/Fabricators who work in-house and go on the road to do installations. CMP also employs many newcomers to Canada. “We strongly encourage all newcomers to continue their English as a Second Language training and work on their English skills.”
CMP is a big promoter of continuing education for welders through Holland College and Apprenticeship programs to earn their Red Seal, which gives them increased skills and knowledge. Employees who complete their Red Seal have a better opportunity to make more money for themselves and the company.
“CMP hires as many Holland College Welder/Fabrication students as we can. Every October, CMP visits the Holland College campuses and talks with students about the company and about the trades. This better prepares them for what to expect in the workplace. CMP works closely with the Learning Managers, who recommend students based on our company’s expectations.”
The company recently hired six Holland College Welding Fabrication students after they completed the on-the-job training component of their program. They were already CMP employees even before they graduated.
Soft skills needed
When hiring, CMP looks for employees who are punctual and have good attendance, are flexible to work overtime, and willing to travel throughout North America for work purposes.
“Even if you don’t have a welding background, the most important requirement is respect for your co-workers and the company, a pleasing personality, a good work ethic, and an ability to fit in with the CMP culture is critical. Learning is a big part of our process, and we will train those who have the potential to be successful.”
CMP has an in-house training program to enhance the skills of new and existing Welder/Fabricators. On-the-job-training students and new hires can practice in the welding booth until they are ready to move on to the fabrication floor to start working in a team-based environment.
“We have a solid program where incoming staff work with more advanced Welders who share their knowledge and skill set freely.”
CMP is creating its own pipeline of qualified Welder/Fabricators by engaging with local educational institutions, encouraging student tours, taking on-the-job training students, and operating an in-house training program.
CMP has forged relationships with local high school co-op programs and Holland College’s Georgetown and Alberton campuses to identify potential students and get them into on-the-job training with the company.
Job seekers without a welding background are welcome to come in and try welding so see if they are interested and they have potential. “For those with potential and transferrable skills, we can work out a plan to set them up on a career.”
CMP pays $16 to $17 an hour to graduates coming out of the Welding Fabrication program at Holland College. “CMP’s top rate is very competitive with other shops on the Island. We also have a comprehensive review program that allows employees to advance in the wage band as they master more skills.
“For people who want to grow and travel, CMP a great place to be. They provide an opportunity for people on PEI to stay home, make a good wage, and have a fulfilling career.