Future of international student expands at Sask Polytech
Building a career in the welding trade
Education has paved the way to success for Javier Martinez. After completing a two-year welding certificate in his home country of Honduras, Martinez explored opportunities to further his education and turned to Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
“I wanted to learn more,” he said. “The welding industry is huge around the world. Coming to Canada was a great opportunity to enhance my skills.”
Martinez arrived in Saskatoon in 2018 and began the eight-month Fabricator-Welder certificate program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Saskatoon Campus. Through applied learning at the polytechnic, Martinez was able to enhance his knowledge and skills.
“In Honduras I learned the basics but at Sask Polytech I learned a wide cross section of technology in all the welding fields,” he says. “The processes were all new to me. Sask Polytech works closely with the industry, so students are prepared to join the workforce.”
Martinez has felt supported by his instructors and welcomed by his fellow classmates.
“I’ve had a great experience in Canada,” he says. “Some people might be afraid of coming to a new country and experiencing a new culture, but it wasn’t a problem. International students bring a new perspective and that is welcomed.”
Only one week after graduating with his certificate in the spring of 2019, Martinez secured a job at Atlas Industries. He’s found the company very supportive in his pursuit of higher education.
“It’s incredible,” he says. “They asked if I wanted to be part of the apprenticeship program and have encouraged me to continue my training.”
Martinez became a permanent resident in 2021 and was then eligible to apply for an apprenticeship in Saskatchewan. With the support of his employer, he applied to the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC) and began taking his level two apprenticeship training at Sask Polytech. He already has plans to pursue his level three and Red Seal in Metal Fabrication.
Instructors at Sask Polytech are knowledgeable in their skills of the trade and Martinez also finds they care about students as individuals. Although English is not his first language, Martinez feels heard and understood by his instructor in a small class of nine to 12 students.
“He is always happy to help,” says Martinez. “He teaches but he also interacts with us and makes us feel welcome. He cares about me as a person and where I come from. It motivates me to do well in the course.”
Ian Schaan, program head, is pleased with the ongoing success of students throughout the program. “It’s great to see our students working through the program, going out into the workforce and then returning through SATCC to advance in their careers.”
Through a formal agreement between the apprentice, their employer and SATCC, the apprentice can further their education and experience. Sask Polytech provides the in-school portion of apprenticeship training for 20 apprenticeable trades.
“The SATCC is pleased to be a small part of this success story and so many others like it,” director of Program Development Evan Jamieson said. “The skilled trades are in huge demand right now in Saskatchewan. Journeyperson certification is a lifelong credential that benefits both tradespeople and their employers.”
Martinez is happy with his decision to come to Sask Polytech and encourages others to pursue further education. “I’m very happy with Sask Polytech. I have a job in my field in Saskatoon. It’s my home now.”
Learn more about Sask Polytech’s Fabricator-Welder certificate.
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