Kraatz Marine says it invested more than N$500,000 into the procurement of a welding simulator and other equipment to take welding education and skills development to the next level.
The company, which is a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group, noted that this is a first for Namibia and bodes well for the development of world-class welders in future.
Welding simulators, like flight simulators, are based on virtual reality technology whereby the student can perform various tasks based on different materials, welding process, welding positions, and material thicknesses within a safe and secure classroom environment.
“Welding simulators are not a replacement for real welding, but it accelerates the learning curve of the student as it provides constant feedback with regards to their performance based on specific parameters such as arc length, travel speed, travel angle, work angle and straightness amongst other variables,” said Detlev Roesemann, an International Welding Engineer and Inspector who works as Industrial General Manager at Kraatz. Other benefits of the welding simulator are that welders can be rated on their performance, based on a set of criteria, which is virtually impossible to do in practice. It also provides an ideal tool for the screening of new welders, re-training of welders and those that did not perform a specific procedure for some time.
The next step in welding education is to move to an e-learning platform that will integrate with the welding simulator to ensure that the theoretical part and the practical part are in sync.
Kraatz is currently evaluating a number of options and is very excited about the opportunities it can unlock. The e-learning platform will allow a student to sit in the north and complete his theory through the internet before he or she commences with practical studies. Taking welding education to the next level is part and parcel of exploring new ways to bring quality vocational training to underserved communities. The first initiative Kraatz launched was the “Learn to Weld” programme.
Six students were enrolled after more than 300 applications were received. The objective of the programme is to provide young Namibians, who do not have a permanent job with additional skills they can use to get a permanent or higher paying job or to start their own business.
The programme is free of charge, runs over a three-month period and will cover the basics of welding, theory and practical. Added to this, Kraatz has lately partnered with Young Africa, a non-governmental organisation, to provide life skills training to students.
“We are excited to partner with Kraatz on this promising initiative. Our objective is to provide life-and other skills to young people that enable them to live a fulfilling life and contributr to the societies they live in,” said Yvette Bellens-Bosma, Director of Young Africa (Namibia).
“This is not the end of the road. In line with the O&L Group motto of ‘Creating a future, enhancing life’, our ultimate objective is to facilitate the development of an Advanced Welding Academy for Namibia, whereby Namibians will receive world-class welding education within a world-class facility with the latest technologies,” Roesemann concluded.