Conestoga news

July 31, 2012 4:21 PM

Conestoga skilled trades students benefit through industrial partnership program

A new partnership with one of the world’s leaders in high technology cutting equipment will provide Conestoga students and apprentices and their employers with new, efficient solutions to metalworking challenges.

Conestoga is one of four schools in North America, and the only one in Canada, to be included in the Partner School Program sponsored by Hypertherm, a New Hampshire-based company that designs and manufactures the world’s most advanced metal cutting products for use in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, heavy equipment, oil and gas, structural steel and shipbuilding.

Thanks to the program, students in Conestoga’s welding trades, welding engineering technology, metal fabrication, and millwright programs are learning to use the latest in plasma cutting technology as they work on industrial research projects and class assignments. According to faculty member Kevin Furness, use of the new technologies creates efficiency and capacity improvements and expands the range of materials beyond those that can be cut with traditional tools.

“With the help of Hypertherm, we’re placing next year’s technology in the hands of our students and apprentices,” Furness said. “They will have the skills and knowledge they need to help their employers, and a real advantage in the workplace.”

Through the partnership, the company has provided handheld and mechanized plasma cutting equipment, training and curriculum support for welding and metal fabricating education.

Hypertherm’s search for a Canadian partner school with an elite metalworking program led them to Conestoga. According to company representative Betsy Van Duyne: “Conestoga stood out with their investment in a state-of-the-art welding and metalworking facility staffed with faculty that offers real-world experience and expertise. We are pleased to have Conestoga College on board as our only Canadian partner school.”

In keeping with their commitment to develop a new generation of skilled metalworkers, Hypertherm will update or replace existing equipment as newer technologies become available, keeping Conestoga students and graduates on the leading edge.

For more information about Hypertherm, visit