Stainless steel fabricator and welding services firm Hlakani Engineering strongly advocates the importance of skills development and in-house training, says director Gerhard Holtshauzen, as this significantly improves boilermaking and other skills.
“We provide people with a chance to become a skilled welder or boilermaker,” he notes, adding that companies often do not give employees a chance to “grow into a position”.
Holtshauzen highlights one of Hlakani’s employees, who started his career as a sweeper, but trained to be a welder during his lunch hours. “In the past two years, he has not failed a single radiographic inspection,” he enthuses.
He emphasises that businesses should invest more time, effort and money in their employees, adding that these efforts yield loyal, hardworking and professional employees.
Hlakani trains its staff in-house and, if an employee shows potential and practises in his/her own time, the company will pay for him/her to attend an official course to receive the theoretical background behind the skill being executed, Holtshauzen states.
A local training facility, for example, Khuphuka Training and Development, can then upskill a welder in training. He comments that this process produces great success rates and most employees succeed in passing Hlakani’s internal welding tests after receiving theoretical training. They can then be tested against the company’s welding procedures to become a coded welder, he adds.
Other examples of Hlakani’s trained personnel include the company’s quality control manager in the workshop, who is also a qualified red seal artisan welder. “It makes a good impression on your workforce if your quality control person can actually do the work that they oversee.” The quality control manager advanced to a management position, owing to training provided by Hlakani, Holtshauzen points out.
He notes that the same principles in terms of training are applied at machining, fabrication, on-site maintenance and crane hire company F&K Engineering, which Hlakani acquired in July last year.
“A further benefit of this acquisition is that F&K Engineering is a Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority- (Merseta-) registered company and can train people in boilermaking, welding, fitting, rigging, turning and diesel mechanics,” he highlights. This means that employees can train through F&K Engineering and receive an official artisan qualification for these disciplines, he explains.
Every year, artisans qualify through the F&K Engineering Merseta-approved training programme and, in February last year, a party was held for 17 employees that passed their trade tests.
Merseta is one of the 21 sector education and training authorities established to promote skills development in terms of the Skills Development Act of 1998.
While Hlakani completed the delivery of the last of 164 custom-made burners to State-owned power utility Eskom’s Camden power station, in Mpumalanga, in September last year, the company also continuously fabricates pulverised fuel burner spares for other Eskom power stations.
The company completed an order for Lethabo power station, in the Free State. It has also supplied spare parts to the Duvha and Kendal power stations, in Mpumalanga.
Further, Hlakani has tendered for the manufacturing and installation of new technology burners for a petrochemicals giant.