Known these days for being at the heart of the UK manufacturing sector, the welding industry is an industry looking at a skills shortage with impending consequences in the future. Not as well-known yet perhaps, is the skills revolution being led by Learn to Weld, the education division of UK welding product company Weldability Sif. This Hertfordshire-based business has recently teamed up with the Department for Work and Pensions and the education provider, Learn Direct to deliver a Sector Based Work Academy (SBWA) in welding.
‘Get into Welding’, as the academy is known, is a six-week course providing an opportunity to study towards a Level 2 EAL ‘Performing Manufacturing Operations’. This includes MIG & TIG welding and employability support to help candidates improve their skills and employment prospects, as meeting the requirements of an SBWA. The aim of academies of this sort is to meet immediate and future recruitment needs by helping to recruit a workforce with the right skills to sustain and grow business, and ‘Get into Welding’ is clearly no exception.
In delivering the course, Learn to Weld opened up the doors of its modern Technical Training Centre (TTC) to a dozen unemployed jobseekers aged 19 and over. A bright and inviting studio based in Letchworth Garden City, it comes with welding bays, industry-standard equipment, and a complete ‘Virtual Learning Environment.’
Candidates were referred via Letchworth Jobcentre and screened by Weldability Sif, with the successful applicants starting the academy on 6th November 2017. The results were positive for the budding welders, with David Scarrott for example being impressed by the TTC itself, a “professional place where health and safety is paramount. There’s definitely no cutting of corners.” Describing the virtual welding training suite at the TTC, David said he liked how it gave him more confidence to try welding virtually, before “doing it for real. It really does take away all the worry.”
“My progression has been great,” was David’s overall conclusion on the course. “I’ve got to the position where I know if my welds are fit for commercial use, that I’ve found my own technique, and I feel confident enough to show off all my skills to future employers!”
Weldability Sif is delivering welder training across the UK via its 36 FE College based welder training studios and their facility in Letchworth is adding to the pool of 11,000 welders created so far.