Canada’s Ironworkers Help Veterans Find a Second Career and a New Community

For veterans of the armed forces, the hardest part of the job is often coming home.

It can be difficult to reintegrate back into daily life after an experience that few can relate to, and that may have been traumatic. And finding a new, rewarding career can be daunting.

That’s why the Canadian Ironworkers are proud partners of Helmets to Hardhats, a non-profit organization that provides Canadian Forces veterans, no matter their skill set or service background, the apprenticeship training required to obtain journeyperson status in 14 different trades.

By participating in the program and selecting ironworking as their desired trade, veterans can train towards a rewarding, safe, and fairly well-paid second career as a Canadian Ironworker.

Helmets to Hardhats has a sister program in the U.S., and partners with American Ironworkers. Since the start of the sister program in the United States 14 years ago, over 20,000 veterans have successfully transitioned their career into ironworking.

In Canada, veterans who are in good standing or current Canadian Forces members are eligible to apply to Helmets to Hardhats.

Successful applicants can choose whichever trade they’d like to pursue, and any relevant experience and qualifications they have could even help to reduce or bypass apprenticeship training, which could be between three and four years long.

And for Canadian Forces members who already have necessary qualifications, Helmets to Hardhats can help assist with employment.

“Veterans did not serve just one day a year – they laid their lives on the line,” said Walter W. Wise, former general president of the Ironworkers in the U.S., back in 2015.

“We remain steadfast in our support of the men and women in uniform, as well as in our commitment to provide quality career options to build our great nations. Our program offers men and women wanting to join the building and construction industry the chance for good, fair wages with benefits while they learn. The program plays an important role in the growth and development of a safe and productive workforce.”