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International Ironworker Apprenticeship Competition

Annual Event Drives Awareness

The Issue

Often referred to as the ‘best kept secret of the Ironworking trade’ by members of the proud union, the bi-annual International Ironworker Apprenticeship Competition brings hundreds of apprentices together to compete in various industry-specific skill sets including: welding, torch cutting, tying rebar, reading survey equipment, rigging (reeving and knots) steel for installation on a job site, ornamental window assembly and climbing a 35-foot steel column. To gain market share for the Union and raise awareness of the trade, Martin Public Relations was tasked with conducting a public relations campaign for the event.

The Strategy

To tell the apprentice story effectively meant sharing images – still and video – of Ironworkers in action with members of the media because words alone cannot explain what they do. This strategic approach included developing a website – IronApprentices.com – to serve as a repository for all things related to the competition. In addition to a media center, the site included videos highlighting various skills that would be on display during the competition, images from previous events and background information on the Union and Ironworking.

The Results

The 2008 International Ironworker Apprenticeship Competition gained media attention from coast to coast. Articles and television coverage regarding the competition generated over 1.3 million impressions with a publicity value that exceeded the event’s budget by 30 percent. Additionally, the website received nearly 8,000 views from countries as far away as the United Kingdom, Norway, and Japan.