Camosun trades ship shape with new bulkhead

Seaspan provides college with replica of a ship’s hull

Camosun chair of trades development Olaf Nielsen

Camosun College’s newest toy is a six-tonne chunk of fabricated steel, and it offers plenty of fun for the many trades students heading into the holiday season.

Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyards designed, built, delivered and helped install the new bulkhead in the John Drysdale trades building at Camosun’s Interurban campus. It took two forklifts and Seaspan riggers, technical workers, ship fitters and welders, pipe fitters, painters and machinists to construct it and then deliver it. For Camosun, the bulkhead will offer training opportunities for welding, pipe fitting, marine electrical, fabrication and more.

“It’s an incredibly inspiring gift from Seaspan, to be able to train our students in a marine ship building environment right here at Interurban,” said Geoff Wilmshurst, vice-president of partnerships at Camosun.

It’s another addition to the already popular trades programs at Camosun, and will also help Seaspan further its focus on supporting training women for trades.

The $88,000 bulkhead is officially part of the new Coastal Skills Initiative. It replicates the inside and hull of a large ocean vessel, the type that Seaspan both manufacture in Vancouver and repair in Victoria.

Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyards works on cruise boats, commercial container ships, non-combative naval ships and Coast Guard vessels.

Camosun’s new marine fitter and marine electrical programs will also make use of the new apparatus.

“There is a confined space below the bulkhead that students can use, which brings yet another element for us,” said Olaf Nielsen, chair of Camosun’s trades and development and special projects. “It allows the students to learn how to install high-level, industrial-grade machinery in a safe place, with safety as a priority.”

The side of the bulkhead is the hull of an ocean-bearing vessel. Learning to do hull penetration is a major skill never offered at Camsoun before, Nielsen added.

In the past, Seaspan and other industrial companies would train all new hires at their site. But with the bulkhead and the replicated industrial area beside it, Camosun grads can bring a higher skill set, said Steve Baker, director of operations at Seaspan Victoria Shipyards.

 

“We have some of the best tradespeople in the industry at Seaspan. We’ll continue to seek high-end employees who know their stuff, and this helps with that,” Baker said.

 

 

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