Ironworkers Face Off in Competition of Skill, Dexterity and Construction Industry Knowledge

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Ironworker Apprentices test their mettle at the 2012 Iron Workers Outstanding Apprenticeship Competition, Sept. 21 – 23, in Indianapolis.

We instill a sense of pride, responsibility and safety in Ironworkers early to ensure that we are the best.

The Iron Workers are pleased to announce their biennial Outstanding Apprentice Competition, scheduled for Sept. 21 – 23, in Indianapolis. The competition is hosted by the Iron Workers District Council of Southern Ohio and Vicinity and will be held at Iron Workers Local Union No. 22 of Indianapolis.

“The Outstanding Apprentice Competition allows Apprentice Ironworkers to exhibit their skills and their knowledge of the Ironworking trade,” said Lee Worley, Executive Director of the Iron Workers National Training Fund, the department which oversees the competition. “Because Iron Workers are dedicated to outstanding performance, superior training and impeccable safety, this event affords our newest members an outlet to display their professionalism and dedication to their craft in a competitive setting.”

Iron Workers fund training and upgrading courses for members to the tune of $50 million a year, and have poured thousands of dollars into a “Zero Fatalities” safety campaign targeted to Ironworker members and Contractors. “We instill a sense of pride, responsibility and safety in Ironworkers early to ensure that we are the best,” explained Iron Workers General President Walter Wise.

The Outstanding Apprentice Competition includes a written test, scheduled for Friday, Sept. 21. A welding test, burning test and instrument test are scheduled on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 8 a.m. Visitors are not allowed to attend Friday or Saturday events.

Knot tying, rod tying, ornamental installation and the popular column climb begin at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. Media are welcome to attend these events.

  • The written test consists of 100 questions taken directly from the Apprentice Training Manuals.
  • The instrument test requires Apprentices to set up an instrument, establish the height of the instrument and figure the elevation of benchmarks above and below the height of the instrument.
  • The welding competition requires Apprentices to complete three passes in all four positions: flat, horizontal, vertical and overhead. The welds are graded based upon quality.
  • The burning competition requires Apprentices to correctly lay out and burn a circle and square, make a bevel cut and make a straight cut. Contestants are judged on accuracy of layout and cut as well as quality of cuts.
  • The knot tying competition requires that Apprentices correctly tie six knots, which are chosen at random from the Iron Workers Rigging Manual the day of the test. They also must correctly reeve two sets of blocks (3x3, 3x2 or 2x2).
  • The rod tying competition is always exciting. Competitors have one minute to tie as many of each different type of tie as they can. The ties are: snap tie, snap and a wrap, saddle tie, saddle and a wrap and the figure 8 tie. The scores that an Apprentice gets on each tie are tallied to give his or her overall score.
  • The ornamental competition is a time-based test and requires that Apprentices race against the clock to see who can put together a 2’ x 2’ glazed window the fastest.
  • The column-climb challenges Apprentices to race to the top of a 35-foot column. The fastest gets all the points.

About the Iron Workers Union: The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers (IABSO&RIW) was founded in 1896 in Pittsburgh, Penn. They now represent more than 125,000 Ironworkers throughout the United States and Canada. The IABSO&RIW’s mission is to improve the working conditions of its members while promoting constructive relationships with their employers to increase work opportunities.

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Brennan Gamwell
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