Welding at schools gets boost

THE re-introduction of welding as a subject from next year has received a major boost with funding, equipment and training from Afrox, merSETA and NMMU at four technical high schools in Nelson Mandela Bay.

NMMU, Afrox and merSETA agreed to jointly improve welding at the four technical high schools in the Nelson Mandela metropolitan area.

The primary objective of this project is to assist the Eastern Cape’s Department of Education, NMMU and the merSETA to re-capitalise current technical schools in support of the re-introduction of welding as a subject from next year.

The programme was launched at Westview High School recently and the occasion was attended by various dignitaries from Afrox, NMMU, merSETA and the four schools.

The schools that benefit from the agreement are Westview, Kwezi Lomzo Comprehensive, Gelvandale and McCarthy Street Secondary in Uitenhage.

Approximately R1,2-million was made available by Afrox Pty Ltd for the four schools, which included the supply of Afrox welding equipment and products.

The welding equipment included Mig and MMA welding machines, gas welders and PortaPaks. In addition to the supply of hardware, the merSETA chair in engineering development at NMMU provided funding for accredited Afrox training for two teachers per school as well as a department representative.

“Welding is a specialised field under the subject of mechanical technology in technical high schools and re-capitalising them will go a long way in preparing pupils for careers in welding,”said Christo Basson, merSETA senior manager ETQA and partnerships.

Each of the schools was assisted by the merSETA, Afrox and NMMU to ensure that their laboratory facilities were adequately prepared in order to meet industry safety requirements. Appropriate storage facilities, fume extraction, power supplies, welding bays and eye protection amenities were fitted at the schools that required them.

“Safety is an important aspect of welding and all teachers must attend the Afrox safety training before using the equipment.

“Pupil training will be provided by educators who have been trained and certified as trainers,” said Johan Pieterse, business manager, Manufacturing Industries MPG.

“Education in engineering is an expensive excercise, but this collaboration has provided the four schools with equipment that can yield skills to prepare pupils for tertiary studies,” said Karl du Preez, merSETA chair in engineering development at NMMU.

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