Sep

Voith addresses skills shortage with new training centre

2013-09-05 07:06

Hats off to Voith South Africa for addressed the growing skills shortage in the industry by establishing its own dedicated training facility as a Centre of Excellence covering the products in the Voith portfolio.

As a Centre of Excellence, the new facility intends to offer world class technical training to all Voith stakeholders and to empower customers to get the most value out of their Voith products.

Ashan Ramchuran, technical training officer at Voith, says the launch of the training facility is the answer to a growing need for skills in the engineering field.

“As a result of the high level of skills shortages throughout the industry, OEM’s find themselves constantly in challenging positions which could be viewed as a threat to their brand. A strong emphasis is being placed on training and development in order to keep personnel abreast of technological advancements and skills improvements,’ he says.

The commercial vehicle range of products – along with Mining & Metals and Power, Oil & Gas – will be developing courses with the view to empowering customers with the necessary skills and expertise required.

“The training Voith offers is structured in the same manner as in Germany where there is a theoretical as well as practical module which is hands-on orientated and offers customers an opportunity to work on current equipment. Customers can even simulate actual live situations they have experienced in the field,’ says Ramchuran.

There are currently five maintenance courses available, covering the DIWA and Brake Retarder product ranges. All the courses are available either at the Centre of Excellence or can be held on site at the customer’s premises with a tailor-made programme designed to cater to suit their specific needs.

In addition, there is a “Train the Trainer’ course for OEM’s to allow their own product trainers to conduct on-the-job training for their technicians.

The local market has experienced an upsurge of Voith transmissions and retarders in the past few years and the total number in the market is currently 4 500 and 12 500 units respectively. This has prompted the move to support local customers with dedicated, specialised training.

Peter Wraight, manager of the Commercial Vehicle Division of Voith Turbo SA, says the training programme is designed to meet the four pillars of the industry: Economy, Safety, Reliability and Efficiency.

“The advantages of our training programmes can only have positive results for all when the following benefits are taken into consideration: Increased vehicle service levels, optimum operation and uptime, reduced warranty claims, fix first time, skills development for technicians and improving overall professionalism in the transport industry.’

Training and education have, by tradition, always been a top priority at Voith and in keeping with that tradition, Voith as a parent company has recently invested heavily in key market areas. The building of a training facility in China commenced towards the end of 2012 and will represent the largest training facility that Voith has outside Germany.

The fact that Voith is building facilities in key areas not only proves the localised commitment of Voith in these markets but also demonstrates the sustainability and long term orientation of the company.

Founded in 1867 as a family business, Voith employs more than 42 000 people around the world, generates €5.7-billion (R13,5-billion) in sales, operates in over 50 countries and is today one of the biggest family-owned companies in Europe.

The company established its South Africa operation in 1981 and today employs 128 people operating from a head-office in Johannesburg and three branches country-wide. It also has a regional network of distributors and agents in sub-Saharan Africa.

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