A PARTNERSHIP between business, government and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is helping to meet the shortage of certified welders in South Africa.

Four technical high schools in the Nelson Mandela Bay area are benefiting from a programme implemented by NMMU, Afrox and merSETA.

Technical Schools will be reintroducing welding as a subject from 2016, and the schools’ welding facilities were in need of an upgrade.

“Welding is a specialised field under the subject Mechanical Technology in technical High Schools and re-capitalising these schools will go a long way in preparing learners for careers in welding,” says Christo Basson, merSETA Senior Manager ETQA and Partnerships.

The schools being support by the partnership are Westview High School, Kwezi Lomzo Comprehensive High School, Gelvandale High School and McCarthy Street Secondary School in Uitenhage.

Afrox has supplied welding equipment and products to the value of around R1.2 million to the schools.

The welding equipment includes Mig and MMA welding machines, gas welders and PortaPaks.

The welding classrooms have also been upgraded to meet industry safety standards.

The merSETA Chair in Engineering Development at NMMU provided funding for accredited Afrox training for two teachers per school, as well as a Department of Education (DOE) representative.

“Education in Engineering is an expensive exercise, but this collaboration has provided the four schools with equipment that can yield skills to prepare learners for tertiary studies,” says Karl du Preez, merSETA Chair in Engineering Development at NMMU.