The aim of training should not only be to provide skills for current staff, but also to equip learners with the ability to undertake sustainable career paths. Consequently, training needs to be focused on the ability to marry the theoretical and practical components integral to any job.
DCD MARINE, a world -class shipyard and service provider to the international oil and gas industry, recognises the need for adequate training that is aligned with recognised Unit Standards. DCD MARINE’s Training Centre of Excellence was opened in May 2010. The centre comprises of a welding school, pipe welding area, grinding and gas cutting (burning) assessment and training area, and a classroom area for the theoretical component of the courses. A blasting & coating simulator was also built to re-enact confined spaces onboard vessels and rigs.
“In addition, the facilities include 20 individual welding cubicles, each fully equipped with high-tech equipment. Of these cubicles, 15 are occupied by the learners while the remaining five are utilised for coding purposes,” says DCD MARINE HR Manager, Rene Van Den Heever. Facilities to accommodate four gas burner students and five grinder students are available for learners.
“Our courses are aligned with SAQA’s Unit Standards and we are currently undergoing a full accreditation process. In the interim, we utilise an approved and accredited third party training provider to ensure that we adhere to the required industry standards,” says Van Den Heever.
Various welding processes, such as FAW (Fluxcore 1F-4Fand 1G-4G), TIG, SMAW (Stick 1F-4F and 1G-4G), pipe welding (6G and 6GR), stainless steel (6G) and conifer welding (6G) are covered in the eight-module courses. “The welding manual focuses on safety, welding equipment, welding terminology, welding positions, types of welded joints, weld imperfections, welding symbols, welding processes and consumables,” says Van Den Heever. The gas cutting and grinding training/assessment comprise one theoretical and practical module each.
After each module is completed theoretically and practically, the learners undertake a knowledge test to determine whether any gaps exist in their understanding of that particular module. “They are then given the opportunity to rectify the problems, ensuring that they are fully competent in the subject matter,” says Van Den Heever.
“In general, the course can be completed within eight months and includes an eight-week practical mentoring and coaching component which is undertaken in DCD MARINE’s workshops, on site and on a vessel,” Van Den Heever explains. DCD MARINE recently completed its second intake of learners since the opening of its training centre. “We have qualified 30 coded welders, as well as 38 learners for gas cutting, 198 for grinder training and we have undertaken 793 assessments for coding,” according to Van Den Heever.
Another tool of the training arsenal is DCD MARINE’s Blasting & Coating Simulator. The main focus of this tool is to train and upskill men and women to blasting and coating standards, efficiencies and techniques. The simulator provides invaluable training when working in confined spaces onboard a vessel or rig. “We are training our people to be world class in this competitive blasting and coating market in order to work safe, with a good quality and on-time delivery job”, says Van Den Heever.
“All of these competent learners are placed on a labour database within DCD MARINE’s recruitment centre and they are continuously used as contract workers. In addition, we train and multi-skill unemployed people who are paid for the 40 to 80 hours that they receive training or assessments. This enables each learner to become employable, not only within DCD MARINE, but within the industry in general,” Van Den Heever explains.
“The benefit to DCD MARINE’s clients is exhibited by employees who are multi-skilled to the highest levels. Since skills are constantly being refreshed and upgraded, all employees working for DCD MARINE are able to easily undertake even the most difficult tasks with zero defect as the end result,” says DCD MARINE General Manager Gerry Klos.
Shipbuilding Tribune Staff, June 8, 2012; Images: DCD MARINE