The new-and-improved welding centre at Louis Botha Technical High School in Bloemfontein was officially reopened in May 2015, following a complete overhaul and upgrade of the facility, spearheaded and funded by Sub-Saharan gas market leader Afrox.
Louis Botha is the latest school to have its welding centre fully-kitted with a range of Afrox Transarc MIG inverter power sources, personal protective equipment, as well as numerous consumables, such as alloys, electrodes and wires. This upgrade forms part of Afrox’s initiative to upgrade 19 schools nationwide, to support and enhance economic and skills development in South Africa.
Afrox business manager for manufacturing industries Johann Pieterse states that welding skills are critically-scarce in South Africa, and particularly in the Free State. “I am proud to say that this centre has been upgraded to the highest standards of quality and safety. This will equip learners with the skills and expertise required to add measurable value to the South African manufacturing sector.”
Louis Botha Technical High School head of department for FET technical Sakkie Matthee, says that over the past ten years, technical education for the training of skilled craftsmen has been lacking. “Thankfully, with the help of the National Association Schools for Technology (NAST), we were able to assist the Department of Education with the detection of the shortage of artisans in South Africa.”
As a result, the Department of Education realised that specialist training of craftsmen in upgraded and advanced welding workshops is of vital importance. “Afrox has assisted us greatly with this upgrade, which now ensures that all learners starting from Grade 10 will receive the correct training and meet certain standards, which will enable them to join any welding institution after matric, and make a positive contribution to the local industry,” Matthee adds.
In addition to the Free State, other regions benefitting from the school welding centre upgrades include; Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern and Western Cape. As part of its commitment to this initiative, Afrox is also hosting extensive teacher training in the field of welding.
The teacher training is an Afrox accredited 40-hour training programme scheduled over a ten-week period. It commenced in early-May 2015 at Afrox’s Demonstration Centre in Germiston, Gauteng. Initially, 12 teachers will be fully trained and upskilled in the field of welding, however, Pieterse is confident that this number can be substantially increased in the long-term future.
“These courses are custom-designed by Afrox to cater to these teachers, and forms part of our long-term strategy to not only promote, but to sustain welding skills in the country. Our ultimate goal is to also offer bursaries to matriculants by entering into partnerships with technical colleges nationwide, thereby promoting welding as an attractive career choice,” he concludes.
Notes to the Editor
There are numerous photographs specific to this press release. Please visit http://media.ngage.co.za and click the Afrox link.
African Oxygen Limited (Afrox) is sub-Saharan Africa’s market leader in gases and welding products. Afrox was founded in 1927, listed on the JSE in 1963, and has prospered by constantly meeting the needs of customers and developing solutions that add value to customer applications. Afrox operates in South Africa and in ten other African countries. It also manages operations in five additional countries on behalf of its parent company, The Linde Group - a global gases, engineering and technology company.
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Business Manager for Manufacturing Industries
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Email: johan [dot] pieterse [at] afrox [dot] linde [dot] com