Could welding or bricklaying be your next new hobby?
A Lord of the Rings sword-fighting film choreographer and a doctor have been among the diverse variety of students to try out one of our Introduction to Welding adult night classes in the past.
So, if you feel you don’t quite have the mettle for taking up the fabrication process as a trade, don’t be put off – just as many people are now giving welding a go as a hobby.
Equally, if you have got a little building project that you’d like to have a bash at yourself at home, then acquiring some basic skills on a York College & University Centre City & Guilds bricklaying course will help you along the way.
We caught up with tutors Alex Benn (welding) and Nick Morley (bricklaying) at this month’s Summer Adult Showcase, where they delivered taster sessions in our campus workshops and stressed how the respective skills can be enjoyed as part of your everyday life in addition to being a vocational route for others.
Alex revealed how participants on his course come from all different backgrounds and insisted that nobody should be put off by feeling they don’t fit a perceived stereotype – the world of welding is more inclusive than you might think.
“My course is more for people who want to do welding as a hobby,” Alex explained. “One of my students who was a doctor donated us some money to pay for the lights in the workshop.
“We’ve also had somebody in who was a sword-fighting choreographer for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, as well as sculpture artists. I’ve had husband and wives come too and I’m happy for all my previous students to ask me for advice and come back in and use the equipment a bit.
“We do gas welding, MIG welding, stick welding and a bit of TIG welding as well. It’s all done with steel and we get a lot of people who do the course because they’ve got cars they want to restore.
“For this Adult Showcase taster session, we had a guy who has a Land Rover he wants to do up. Basically, the student can dictate what they want to do when they’re here.
“If they want to do more on MIG welding, they’ll do more on MIG welding and, at the end of the course, they get a York College certificate with a list of all the things they’ve done. It’s a course to try if you have an interest in welding rather than if you’re looking to change career, but it’s also a good place to start to see if you would want to do it as a job.
“We have eight people at a time on the course, which means you get your own welding bay and don’t have to share. All materials are supplied, including masks, and all that we ask you to bring are steel-capped boots and overalls.
“It’s on Tuesday evenings, starts at 6pm until 9pm and it’s all hands-on welding. Be quick to book on if you’re interested, though, because the courses fill up really quickly through word of mouth.”
Nick, meanwhile, pointed out how quickly novices can pick up bricklaying skills when they are provided with some of the basic techniques.
“Most people turned up (to the Adult Summer Showcase taster session) with little or no experience, so we focussed on the basic techniques, like rolling, cutting and putting a cross joint on the end of a brick,” Nick explained. “We also did some basic setting out in the form of pyramids, then added gauges and focussed on some jointing techniques.
“You could see people build up their speed and become more confident with tape measures and they worked really hard with most seeming to enjoy it. Some of them have got a few projects on the go – somebody has some planters to build and one person wants to make a start on a garage, so we tried to give them a few basic skills that they can go forward with because, if you get the basics right, with consistent practice you can then become the finished article.
“For those that want to advance on to the night class, which is a 10-week course, it really improves your skills as you’re practicing two days a week. That often happens after the Showcase, because a lot leave having really enjoyed it and wanting to get into it.
“We’ve had a few people on the night classes where it has led to a career change and, because it’s a night class, you can learn it in the evening around your current job.”