at the French welding championship, the quest for qualified workers

By Aline Leclerc

Posted today at 11:15 a.m., updated at 12:06 a.m.

At the whistle, they lowered both visors of their impressive black mask and sparks flew from the workbenches. The start, Friday 1er October, three days of competition for the French welding championship, in Vierzon (Cher). A first in this form: in parallel with the competition – which saw 65 preselected candidates from among 900 candidates compete – a kind of welding fair, round tables, “job dating”, stands of brands and companies ( EDF, Framatome, Endel, Ortec, Artis…). Which made no secret of the reason for their presence: to recruit.

“When we launched the idea for this event, we quickly received positive feedback from all these partners. Highlighting this profession, which remains highly sought after year after year, is strategic for many of our industries ”, says Mehdy Addad, one of the two organizers. “There is a shortage of welders! “, summarizes Guillaume R., candidate from Burgundy. “In this job, it’s work that comes to you! “, enthuses Nicolas P., welder from Marseille. Those who compete are enthusiasts, who describe the pleasure of “To do with his hands” and the satisfaction of a job well done, in a key profession.

Exhibition in parallel with the French welding championship, in Vierzon, Friday, October 1, 2021.

“Welding is everywhere: bridges, planes, buildings … Without a welder, no nuclear power station that works, no gas that travels safely”, recalls Mehdy Addad. And yet, “Nobody wants to be a welder”, deplores his accomplice Christophe Lagarde. It’s for “To restore the image of a devalued profession” that these two, welding trainers in the Cher, took the initiative of this French championship, relying on their online community: Soudeurs 2.0, the YouTube channel where Christophe Lagarde presents tutorials, has 80,000 subscribers , his Facebook page, 25,000.

Market with complex realities

Why these difficulties in recruiting? The discussions this weekend in Vierzon show that the downcast expression of “Labor shortage” hides a complex reality. The first surprise comes from the data. Partner of the event, Randstad presented a study on the trade market. In the spring, 16,000 positions were to be filled. But, depending on the territory, there are 3 to 10 welders seeking employment for an offer, which, contrary to the testimony of all professionals, does not therefore officially make it a “job in tension”.

There are 3 to 10 job seekers for an offer, which, contrary to testimonies, does not officially make a “job in tension”

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