For almost a decade, skilled trade roles have been the hardest jobs to fill in Canada.
And a lack of hard skills could be the reason behind this, according to a 2016 report by recruitment specialists, Manpower Group.
Despite this, there are still skilled trades workers here in Vancouver who are keeping things alive and shaking things up in unique, creative ways. One of those is Shaun Bird, AKA BirdMan the Welder.
We spoke to Shaun Bird ahead of the upcoming Dinner by Design event at Vancouver’s Harbour Event Centre, to find out how he got into this specialist line of work.
How he became a welder
The Vancouver creator is an ‘A’ level pressure welder and fabricator with over 15 years of experience. As the founder of BirdMan The Welder, Shaun Bird told us how his business started out as a side project, and how he quickly turned it into a growing family business with his wife, Leanne.
He now builds a variety of items and works in several mediums, but his passion is furniture and his dedication is metal. Bird notes that “90% of his firm’s projects are custom, one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted metal creations.
“We love to collaborate, be a part of the creative process, and help our clients meet or exceed their project goals. When people come to us with an idea, wondering if it’s possible, we usually say yes. We pride ourselves on the ability to be a one-stop shop, but don’t shy away from reaching out to others in the community who specialize in their own crafts.”
Why he believes in hands-on learning
Bird believes that learning using a hands-on approach is the optimal route. His dad taught him what it meant to work with his hands and to take pride in what he does. “Sounds simple, it is, and it stuck with me,” he told us.
Upon finishing his first (C) level of welding, he immediately learned that he really had no idea what he was in for. “Even after spending seven months in an intense full-time school program learning how to weld, I didn’t really gain my ‘knowledge’ of the trade until I got my first actual welding job and starting working hands-on in the industry.”
Although Bird is a fully-certified welder now, he says that he is “very much self-taught in many avenues of the trade work” he does. “You cannot fully learn without diving in. A textbook and a teacher are a great base, but can only provide so much.”
What he’s doing now
Over the last 15 years, BirdMan has worked in many aspects of the welding trade, learning something different at each turn. It’s moulded him into the skilled and well-rounded craftsman that he is today and he employs all of his acquired skills on a daily basis.
“One thing remains… I still love learning! I have learned so much over the years by showing interest and recognizing someone else’s strengths or methods and simply asking them to explain it to me,” he explains.
“I like to stay hands-on with all projects coming through BirdMan The Welder, constantly learning new processes and surrounding myself with individuals who are better than me, which keeps me on my toes and reassures me there is much more to learn.” Looks like he’s hands-on about his learning, too, a lesson we can all take back with us regardless of the work we’re pursuing.
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Daily Hive is a proud media sponsor of Dinner by Design