Despite all the disruptions to learning caused by COVID-19 this year, 11 learners received certificates of competence on 13 November 2020 after completing their Shielded Metal Arc Welding module at the Boitjhorisong Welding Training Centre in Sasolburg.
The Centre opened its doors earlier this year in response to the community’s request for a technical training centre in the greater Sasolburg. The Centre was established as a partnership between Sasol, SNC-Lavalin and Afrox.
According to the Spokesperson of Sasol, Karin Fourie, the first cohort started in March 2020 with 12 participants, eight from Zamdela, one from Vaalpark, two from Deneysville and one from Oranjeville. Six learners were male and six, female.
On completion of the module, the participants received certificates of achievement, stating the competencies they have acquired. The competencies include workplace safety, hand tools, basic hand skills and handheld power tools as well as Shielded Metal Arc welding areas being stringer bead, 2F fillet weld, 3F fillet weld, 4F fillet weld, 2G butt weld, 3G butt weld and 4G butt weld.
“The qualifying participants will be placed on the SNC-Lavalin database as having competencies in arc welding and they could in future be recruited by service providers to assist during Sasol shutdowns as structural welders.
Of the qualifying learners, three were placed on the accelerated welding programme at Afrox, four will proceed with the second module, being TIG (Argon) welding and four are exiting the programme with the prospect to work as entrepreneurs in the community. One learner unfortunately had to exit the programme due to ill health,” said Fourie.
All participants are received a welding toolkit after completing the programme.
The programme is being expanded in January 2021 to include TIG (Argon) welding training to four participants from the first module, while ten new participants from the greater Sasolburg will be accommodated to participate in the second cohort of Module 1, being the Shielded Metal ARC welding course. As 14 learners will be trained at the Centre in 2021, two additional welding booths were added to the facility.
Fourie further explained that application for 2021 has closed and 10 participants are being selected from the 2 023 received applications. Selection criteria include some minimum requirements, a technical skills assessment and an interview.
The Centre plans to eventually offer four modules, being ARC welding, TIG (Argon) welding, MIG welding and Gas welding. Completing all modules should take about 2 to 2½ years, including 12 months’ work integrated learning.
Technical and vocational skills training is an important Social Investment theme at Sasol to further our contribution towards the National Development Plan (Vision 2030) target to produce 30 000 artisans a year by 2030.
Sasol has been involved in a number of artisan training programmes since 2013 such as training of plant operators and welders at the Flavius Mareka TVET College and a partnership with Aveng Grinaker-LTA and SNC-Lavalin (Kentz) to train community members in various disciplines including welding and mechanical fitting. A total of 159 learners have benefitted from these programmes.
According to Fourie, the training was also funded at the MCD and Sedibeng Training centres in electrical, motor mechanical, plumbing, boiler making, fitting and turning as well as rigging. There are currently 94 of these artisan candidates placed for work integrated learning at local businesses and the Metsimaholo Local Municipality. Participating local businesses are ACTOM, AEM Electrical, Vicro Bulk and ID Electrical Engineering, Kent Electrical, Serviette and Sasol.
These programmes are over and above learnerships offered by Sasol at our Skills Academies from which they qualify as process artisans, electrical artisans, mechanical fitters or instrumentation artisans.