About 900 potential artisans, representing the first intake at project services corporation Hydra-Arc’s Secunda-based artisan training facility, Mshiniwami Training Academy, are well on their way to completing their training.
Since opening in January, the R60-million academy, offering courses in welding and boilermaking, has accepted about 300 people for training in boilermaking and 600 to pursue a welding qualification.
Hydra-Arc also provides training for pipe-fitting trades.
Hydra-Arc human resources manager Loren Clow says the facility can cater for up to 1 200 students, based on workplace-learning rotation schedules.
The facility offers a three year welding apprenticeship programme, year-long welding and semiskilled boilermaking (pipe fabrication) learnerships; and a nine-month welding skills programme, she outlines.
Clow notes that students who have completed learnerships in welding or boilermaking will be issued with certificates, which meet the requirements of National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 2.
After successfully completing their skills programmes, students will also obtain a certificate verifying their competence as welders in respect of the selected unit standards.
However, to qualify as artisans, students are required to successfully complete a trade test. Mshiniwami is accredited at NQF Level 4 in welding, boilermaking and pipe-fitting, and as an apprenticeship provider in welding and boilermaking.
Clow tells Engineering News that Hydra-Arc is approved for workplace learning in respect of welding at petrochemicals company Sasol and at fabrication company Sky Hill.
“Similar approval for boilermaking is pending as we are waiting for feedback,” she says.
Mshiniwami has been able to secure learners on skills programmes, learnerships, apprenticeships and cover workplace learning at Sasol and Sky Hill. “Our first trainees will complete their learning programmes at the end of 2015 and in early 2016, but we are making concerted efforts together with government to obtain in-service training for them thereafter,” she adds.
Hydra-Arc is also keen to obtain accreditation in new courses, such as mechanical fitting, rigging and supervisory courses.
Clow says the company’s focus on training has enabled it to attract and retain the essential skills required to maintain and develop its various businesses. “This is as true today as it was when we were founded in 1987. Our skilled people are and will remain the cornerstone of our success.”
Currently, Hydra-Arc’s labour supply business Jomele Training & Placements boasts a database of skilled artisans and focuses on the skills development and training of its employees.
Clow tells Engineering News that Hydra-Arc has budgeted to train learners who are Hydra-Arc employees, using the company’s own funds, and has also, through “repeated and serious efforts” secured funding for additional learners from outside the company.