With this month being National Welding Month, it's the ideal time for Southwest students and young adults considering a trade career to learn more or even take action. 

According to a report from the Canadian government, over 256,000 new apprentices are estimated to be needed to meet the demand for skilled trades workers in 2026.

Stephen Schober, president and chief executive officer of Metal Supermarkets, hopes to inform young people of the need for welders and what kinds of benefits are out there.

"If you look around there's so many things that have to be done by welders and other tradespeople just to keep things going," said Schober. "The water systems, the electrical systems, so much of what makes life easy and comfortable for us is ultimately done by tradespeople.

"Welders in particular, they're looking after machinery to make sure it's working, they're fixing infrastructure like water and sewer systems."

He notes that the industry is facing a demographic challenge, as a large majority of welders are retiring at a rate greater than the youth entering the industry.

"We're trying to encourage people to hang in and to take the education and get out and have a good trades career, which is surprisingly well paid," Schober said. 

In addition to being a financially sustainable job, training for trades usually takes significantly less time than traditional college or University programs, and these positions are more than often in high demand.

"There's probably even a stronger demand for these [workers] in Sask. than other parts of Canada and North America," said Schober.

Metal Supermarkets is one of the many companies or organizations that are offering incentives to trades students, to celebrate National Welding Month they're investing $10,000 into trade school scholarships. 

"The scholarships are $2,500 to give somebody a good start in paying their tuition," he added. "We're looking for evidence that the applicants are committed and take it seriously, and then we look at their personality and financial need."

For more information or to apply for a Metal Supermarkets scholarship, visit their website at metalsupermarkets.com under 'trades scholarship' and apply before the June 28 deadline.

"We'd love to find a good applicant in Sask. to help out with a scholarship."