For seven years, Nilton Gomes worked as an apprentice at a small welding shop. But he was mostly given odd-jobs and didn't receive much real training. At this rate, Nilton knew he would never be ready to start his own shop.
So in October 2016, he enrolled in the WAVS School’s welding program. Nilton quickly discovered that he had been missing out on a lot.
“With the things that I’m learning at the school, I can suggest better ideas than what we did in the past at the shop,” he said. “We have made gates and window security gates. I’ve used skills that I learned at the school to help improve the quality and design of our work.”
Nilton’s teachers recognized his skill, strong work ethic, and positive attitude. After completing the nine-month welding course, they invited Nilton to stay on for a second year as one of the program’s three welding interns.
The welding department had recently started the internship program to help keep up with the growing demand for its services. There were more project requests coming in from clients in the community than the department could handle with just its students and teachers. The interns not only gain valuable work experience, but they also generate revenue for the school so that it doesn’t have to completely rely on outside funding.
In June, Nilton completed his internship and has received a starter kit of welding tools through the WAVS New Entrepreneurs Program.
Nilton plans to open his own welding shop in the future. His older brother, who had encouraged him to study at the school, is helping him find a generator so he can make his dreams a reality.
“I don’t just want to do my work quickly,” Nilton said. “I want to do my work with love. God has given me the power to be a welder.”
This holiday season, we invite you to Spark Opportunity for a future welding entrepreneur. Your gift today will help train 20 young people, like Nilton, in the next school year with the skills they need to provide for themselves and their families — for the rest of their lives. Qualifying graduates will also receive welding starter kits through the WAVS New Entrepreneurs Program.
WAVS has partnered with the nonprofit One Day's Wages to raise $30,000 before the end of the year to train new welding students. One Day’s Wages will match every donation made through December 31 — dollar for dollar — up to $15,000!