Afrox’s commitment to assisting young South Africans to acquire welding skills and knowledge recently culminated in the official opening on 7 September of the LIV Welding Academy, a custom container welding school that was developed by Afrox in partnership with LIV and the Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW).
The LIV Village provides holistic residential care for orphaned and vulnerable children with the objective of nurturing and educating the children to become valuable members of society. In addition to assisting in the development of the welding school, Afrox will also be providing welding equipment, consumables and gases, and trained instructors. Furthermore, Afrox has obtained CHIETA (Chemical Industries Education & Training Authority) and QCTO (Quality Control for Trades and Occupations) accreditation for the training programmes.
Johann Pieterse, Business Manager for Manufacturing Industries at Afrox, says that the gases and welding company is very proud to be in partnership with such a worthwhile community project and that the Afrox welding training programmes will be the first to receive QCTO accreditation. “We have selected our inaugural 12 students for the LIV Welding Academy programmes and they will begin their training in October. They will be the first students to obtain a welding qualification with QCTO accreditation,” says Pieterse.
He explains that there is an ongoing demand for qualified welders in South Africa and that Afrox’s aim is not to just train welders but also to give the LIV Welding Academy students a recognised South African and international qualification. Pieterse adds that Afrox also intends to certify the LIV Welding Academy as an International Institute of Welding (IIW) authorised training body in partnership with the SAIW who own the programme in South Africa on behalf of the International Institute of Welding.
The LIV project follows on from the success of Afrox’s POPUP welding facility in Soshanguve which supports various technical up-skilling programmes with an emphasis on welding as an in-demand route to a sustainable career. This first-class tertiary welding facility was launched in 2016 and provides quality training focused on skills development that will contribute to a formal qualification.
Pieterse says that Afrox is not only generating new knowledge that will benefit the welding sector broadly, but is also demonstrating a practical response to enhancing the skills levels of welding teachers by offering five welding process training programmes. Afrox has already trained over 40 teachers and provided safety training to 13 000 people in the mining, transport, fabrication, petrochemical and energy sectors.
Enhancing local skills is the main driving force behind Afrox’s skills development programme and extends to schools to attract and inform pupils of the advantages of a technical career and encourage more young learners to study welding further at a tertiary level. To this end Afrox has partnered with the Department of Education to upgrade and re-equip 14 technical schools in the Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape in order to create awareness of welding as a career opportunity, strengthen the capacity of the schools and up-skill teachers. The company also makes bursaries and internships available to welding students.
“Welding is the backbone of industry as it builds economies, infrastructure and whole nations. Afrox has invested tens of millions of rands into research and development over the years,” says Pieterse. “Our commitment to our welding schools and centres is very real as Afrox is dedicated to encouraging youth to take up this profession of the future and we hope to see thousands of young people graduate as welders over the years to come.”