LOOKING FOR THE UK'S TOP WELDING TALENT
The BOC Apprentice Welder Competition is being supported by the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly. Last year, the competition took place in over 40 colleges with a total of more than 400 competitors. This year's competition entries from Further Education colleges have already exceeded this level.
Last year's Scottish finalists with Mark Jenkinson BOC Head of Customer Services, UK & Ireland (left) and Jim Campbell Chairman SAFEE (Scottish Association of Further Education and Engineering)
BOC's Apprentice Welder Competition 2009-10 is now taking place in colleges across the country. Winners of the local college-based competitions will progress to regional heats, before the finals in Scotland, Wales and England during June and July. With large infrastructure projects - including new power stations, railways, etc - due to be constructed in the next decade, skills like welding will be at a premium. As one of the country's largest supplier of welding gases, BOC, a member of The Linde Group, is keen to support moves to increase both the number and the quality of welding technicians.
HARRIS PYE BRINGS BACK LIFE TO SWANSEA DRYDOCK
Saga's newly acquired 18,500 ton cruise ship, Saga
Pearl II (formerly Astoria), the latest addition to their fleet, is undergoing a refit and total refurbishment in Swansea Dry Docks, Wales thanks to the Harris Pye Group. The Group, based in Barry in Wales, has won two major contracts connected to work on the vessel. The first contract was for the provision of the dry dock and dry dock services which include thecomplete overhaul of the main and auxiliary engines, boilers, HVAC systems, electrical and automation as well as steel and pipework plus all related engineering work.
The second is to fully equip both the Verandah Restaurant and Discovery Lounge, supplying all necessary galley equipment for both as well as the renewal of the crew's cabins. Chris David, Technical Director of the Harris Pye Group said: "We are extremely gratified to win these two contracts - one above the water line, the other below and to see Swansea Dry Dock in use again after approximately ten years; we expect the work to be completed by the end of March 2010.
It was good news to reopen the dock and see it put to good use, and to create quite a number of temporary new jobs in an economically challenged area such as Swansea. We currently have a short-term lease in order to help refit the Saga Pearl II, but we very much hope this will be the first of a number of similar jobs that will make use of this splendid facility." www.harris-pye.com
The competition has three stages: Level A takes place within the colleges with each setting challenges that are most appropriate to their local requirements. Level B consists of regional heats between a number of Training Providers - at this level the competitors have to complete a number of test pieces. The winners progress to the three home nation finals (England, Scotland and Wales), where competitors have to complete more difficult test pieces. The national finals will be held at:
• Scotland - Motherwell College, 16th - 18th June • Wales - Deeside College, 29th - 1st July • England - Castle College Nottingham, 6th - 8th July
BOC's Head of Marketing, Mike Dennis, said: “High level welding skills will be an essential element in delivering the infrastructure improvements planned for the coming decade. We are keen to support moves to enhance the UK's engineering capabilities so we are delighted to continue our sponsorship of this national skills competition.” www.bocweldercompuk.com
TAKE A LEAF OUT OF AUSTRIA'S BOOK SAYS DAVYMARKHAM MD
(l-r) Michael Berger, Peter Kerfoot - Apprentice Training Supervisor, Michael Struber
Recently there was a continental flavour about heavy engineering firm DavyMarkham. Two young Austrian students and a German postgraduate all enjoyed work and language experience at the Sheffield based company. Michael Berger and Michael Struber from HTL Hallein in Salzburg, spent time honing their engineering skills alongside DavyMarkham's home- grown apprentices.
Postgraduate Marco Roselius spent a year as Marketing Assistant, while completing his MSc in Human Resources Management with Sheffield Hallam University. Interestingly, the two Michaels attend just the type of technical institution that DavyMarkham MD, Kevin Parkin, is advocating in this country, to train young talent for British manufacturers.
“Rather than steering pupils toward 'soft' GCSE topics, it would be great if schools in this country reintroduced core technology and engineering skills to the curriculum, like the youngsters of my generation acquired from technical schools,” says Kevin. “We could take a leaf out of Austria's book and introduce technology-focused colleges and encourage our youngsters to consider vocational apprenticeships, as a viable alternative to university.”
MANUFACTURING CRITICAL TO BRITISH ECONOMY, SAYS RICHARD CABORN
Guest speaker at the annual British Manufacturing Plant Constructors' Association lunch, the Right Hon Richard Caborn MP, contended that
manufacturing is critical to the future of the British economy.
In his welcoming address, the BMPCA Chairman, Kevin Parkin, MD of DavyMarkham, underlined the Associations commitment to manufacturing generally and potentially broadening its membership beyond the metallurgical industry, to the process, defence and nuclear sectors.
He reminded those attending that Britain is still the world's sixth largest manufacturer, with some 150,000 producers generating around £500 billion annually,
and that, to maintain this global status, industry needs an inflow of skilled young people, who have acquired core technology and engineering skills through their secondary education.
Introducing the main speaker, Kevin pointed out that as well as being a qualified engineer, Richard Caborn had long been a friend to British manufacturing, particularly during his terms in office as Minister for Trade and Minister for the Environment. Mr Caborn, who is MP for Sheffield Central, made the point that the PM's new National Investment Corporation, with its £1 billion investment fund, provided the kick- start for a real manufacturing renaissance, particularly with regard to low-carbon energy technologies like nuclear, renewable and 'clean coal' power. “With this kind of investment, British manufacturing can get a head start on other countries. We already know how to use these technologies and it is about making them more efficient, to take us forward into a greener age. So, we are not starting from scratch - we have the skills and knowledge of how to make this plant. We must advance on what we already have and make Britain a leader in world manufacturing, to supply future energy needs.”
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