Learning how to weld

14th December 2017
Alice Matthews

The construction of the London Underground is often considered an engineering marvel, but we often forget the little miracles that happen on a day to day basis. Case in point - the story of a group of Transport for London (TfL) maintenance engineers who journeyed in the summer to Hertfordshire’s ultra-modern Learn to Weld Technical Training Centre (TTC) with no welding knowledge whatsoever, and returned to London as qualified welders. And this was all completed within one week.

The brand behind this feat is Learn to Weld, the education division of leading UK welding products company Weldability Sif. Entirely dedicated to training Britain’s next generation of welders, Learn to Weld’s seasoned expertise came in handy, when TfL set about solving a reliance on contractor work for train carriage maintenance, at their Stratford depot.

With no welding experience under their belt, it was down to Learn to Weld’s mixture of seasoned tutors and cutting-edge VR technology to fill in the knowledge gap for the TfL engineers. The Learn to Weld TTC itself, where the group studied, certainly helped matters, equipped with its state-of-the-art welding bays, industry-standard equipment, and a complete ‘Virtual Learning Suite'.

This virtual welder training suite is Learn to Weld’s key hallmark, fitted out as it is with fully-immersive virtual welding equipment which allowed the engineers to train digitally and safely, before trying their hand at real welding, in one of the centre’s many welding bays.

After a week at the Letchworth-based TTC, the engineers left fully trained to the equivalent of the high BS EN standard required. Returning to London in August, they were able to weld on the Jubilee line trains in their care, maintaining aspects such as the aluminium-base within each carriage.

Weldability-Sif Chairman, Adrian Hawkins, said on the project: “We are pleased to see the investment in VR and E-Learning developments we have made, to complement our welder training courses, which has led to the fast tracking of students through the Level 1 courses we provide. With the package we offer it is possible to introduce learners to the various welding processes within a week, process by process, bringing them to an acceptable level of knowledge, to enable them to practice further and hone their welding skills.

"Our industry has a severe shortage of welders and fast-tracking students will become more relevant as the nation develops its Industrial Strategy.”

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