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Welding simulator gives hands-on experience

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A new $50,000 welding simulator is introducing South West TAFE Portland students to the intricacies of the trade.

The simulator helps with dexterity skills and gives beginners a way to hone their abilities before switching to the real thing.

It is being used across the suite of engineering-related courses at the South West TAFE Portland campus and is proving to be a popular challenge at field days and events across the region.

South West TAFE engineering senior educator Jack Gillson said welding technique involved a lot of aiming to ensure appropriate approach angles.

“Simulators can help with getting to know those techniques without the layers of heat, sparks and fumes that happen with the real thing,” Mr Gillson said.

“For novices, getting the technique and dexterity down pat is the first challenge of welding. It takes a lot of practice and the simulator can really help.”

The simulator is also being used as a classroom teaching tool. “Teachers can use it to talk to groups of students in a structured way,” Mr Gillson said. “The actual welding bays are quite confined, making it difficult for group sessions, but, of course, nothing replaces the real thing and students will progress to hands-on welding work.”

The simulator was supplied by Lincoln Electric and is being used by engineering pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship students.

It was purchased with a grant from the Victorian Government Regional and Specialist Training Fund.

It is also moving across the community and was a popular attraction at the Sungold Field Days where potential welders could test their scores.

South West TAFE agriculture teacher Peter McSween supervises Emmanuel College year 10 student Amarli McKenna.