Apprentices graduate in VWSA first

EMPLOYEES with no formal qualifications have successfully undergone training in one of the most sought-after fields in the manufacturing sector.

In a first for Volkswagen Group South Africa, the first 12 millwright apprentices have graduated from the millwright apprenticeship programme, introduced in 2010 through VWSA’s Technical Learning Academy (TLA).

A millwright apprenticeship is a skills training programme focusing on installing and maintaining electrically automated industrial machinery.

A millwright’s work involves dismantling, fault-finding, repairing and in some cases manufacturing small replacement parts. They are also required to be able to read blueprints and schematic drawings.

The training programme of the first 12 millwright apprentices spanned 3½ years. TLA trainer Nabeel Rasdien said that during this time the apprentices received institutionalised practical training and on-the-job training.

“In the electrical aspect, they received practical as well as theory training ranging from simple domestic lighting circuits to designing and commissioning of complex motor control. In the mechanical field, trainees received the same training as a fitter apprentice would. The training started with basic hand skills and included more technical aspects such as dismantling and assembling gearboxes,” Rasdien said.

The graduates also received training in pneumatics, hydraulics, electronics and programme logic controllers. The training ended with a national trade test regulated by MerSETA.

VWSA managing director David Powels said the trade testing of the millwright apprentices was part of the company’s “continued focus on improving the skills of our employees”. – Business Reporter

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