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Since awareness has grown that something needs to be done about the declining number of young engineers in the manufacturing industry, various initiatives have been developed to stop the trend.

The number of young people opting for a technical education is reducing and on top of that the education that they receive is not properly based on the profession as it is at present. Young students learn basic operations in metal such as welding, usually only at a low level, while the manufacturing industry fully utilizes modern welding equipment and welding robots. The contemporary production industry therefore requires students to learn to work with that during their education.

In order to provide educational institutions with more information about the possibilities of robot welding, Valk Welding gives lectures to HBO (Higher Vocational Education) and MBO (intermediate vocational education) schools, class trips are organised for students and teachers in its own Technical Centre, Valk Welding gives guest lectures at universities and takes in students on an internship basis. This has created a growing interest among teachers in welding robot technology. Through collaboration with research institutes, governments, schools and the private sector the integration of welding robots in education is slowly beginning to take off. Valk Welding has already installed welding robots at technical educational institutions in Rotterdam, Dordrecht, Terborg, Rijssen, Antwerp and in EUC Nordvest in Denmark and ENSTA in France.

It is clear that the welding robot is finally getting its due in education. At Valk Welding we are happy to make our own contribution to increase support for robotisation in the long term. In the next issue of Valk Melding we will pay more attention to this subject.

This summer Valk Welding will also be installing a welding robot at Schoonhovens College. This delivery is the result of a long-term cooperation between the local private sector and Schoonhovens College.

In the Schoonhoven region people aged over 55 of busy leaving their positions and the private sector is looking for new people with sufficient technical knowledge and experience to fill the gap they leave behind. "They will largely have to come from technical training institutions," explains Robert Lock of Vlot Staal, a welding and manufacturing company. Robert Lock is one of the initiators of the welding robot project at Schoonhovens College. "This program has VBMO (Preparatory vocational secondary education) training already includes a teach-in lathe and a CNC milling machine. With a welding robot the students can receive their training using state-of-the-art technology as it is used in the private sector.

Vlot Staal and Valk Welding are collaborating with the installation of a used welding robot unit at the College, including the welding fume extraction required and support required by the teachers.

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“New personnel with expertise and experience is not enough. "Largely will have to come from technical educational institutions."”

Robert Lock
Vlot Staal

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