Forging links through education

    Although Indian clients admire the welding equipment produced by Swabian manufacturer Lorch Schweißtechnik, they don’t always buy it. There is a serious shortage of properly trained specialists capable of operating the modern machinery.

    Lorch decided to act to remedy the situation. The medium-sized business entered into a development partnership with the DEG via BMZ’s develoPPP.de-programme. Non-governmental organisation Don Bosco Mondo has long-standing experience in vocational training and became Lorch’s partner. The result is an exemplary training project. Disadvantaged young people in the Indian city of Pune are now being trained as welders – and will thus have a good chance of finding work.

    The city of Pune is the heart of India’s automobile industry, but is suffering a serious shortage of skilled workers. It’s not only Lorch’s clients who desperately need skilled welders, capable of operating the high-performance welding equipment and producing precisely welded seams.

    ‘During our very first visit to India, we realised that there’s a shortage of skilled workers, and we decided to do something about it’, explains Johannes Jakob, Commercial Director at Lorch Schweißtechnik GmbH.

    The solution: in 2014 the company and Don Bosco Mondo together founded the Lorch-Don Bosco Welding Technology School of Excellence. ‘DEG provided in-depth advice’, says Jakob. ‘The financial contribution was key as it allowed us to finance the high start-up costs and set up a large-scale project from the outset.’ Through the develoPPP.de project, disadvantaged young people are given state-certified training in welding at the school in line with the latest technical standards.

    ‘For Don Bosco Mondo, this offers a way of getting young people into the labour force. Lorch’s clients need highly trained welders. It’s a win-win situation’, emphasises Hans-Jürgen Dörrich, Head of Corporate Cooperation at Don Bosco in Bonn. The development partnership means that partners can achieve several objectives at the same time.

    The training centre in Pune offers a model for how to improve the professional image of welders in India. At the same time, disadvantaged young people are trained as skilled workers, and will then have very good chances of finding a job.

    ‘This is one example of a collaborative project in which partners can guarantee high-quality training with a strong practical orientation’, explains DEG’s Susanne Striegler. ‘This allows us to achieve major benefits in terms of development policy.’

    Don Bosco provided school and workshop buildings in Pune. Lorch fitted them out with 20 fully equipped welding stations, modern welding equipment, tools and materials. Lorch covers the costs of training the young people and providing regular in-service training for teaching staff.  

    DEG was the intellectual sparring partner and advised both project partners on the choice of location and cost projections. Today, young people can choose either a 12-month diploma course or six-month short courses leading to state-certified qualifications.

    Father Corlis Gonsalves is Director of the Don Bosco Training Centre in Pune. As he points out, ‘It's absolutely vital that companies like Lorch cooperate with Don Bosco. Otherwise Don Bosco could never afford the technology and equipment to provide this training.’

    Aravind N., Manager of Lorch Welding Products in India, has worked for Lorch since 2013. He was instrumental in getting the cooperation arrangement off the ground and firmly believes in the project. Not surprising, since all trainees completing the first course found a job as soon as they had finished.

    In addition, the companies are offered the opportunity of providing ongoing in-service training for their new recruits. This allows the welders to develop additional skills and improve their earnings in the long term. And the employers can also expect to retain their skilled staff.

    18-year-old Satyam Shinde is a trainee at the welding school. It was a local parish priest who suggested he attend the Don Bosco school. Satyam very much hopes to find a job as soon as he completes his training because his parents are no longer alive and he has to look after his siblings by himself. 

    The trainees not only get hands-on training in using the welding equipment. In the morning they also have theoretical instruction. Lorch aims to ensure that graduates of the training course find a job quickly, so after their training they undertake an internship in a private company. As a result, many trainees already have a job offer even before they complete their training.

    Nilesh Gavhame is one of the instructors employed by Don Bosco. Before he joined the organization, he himself worked abroad as a welder. Now, he chooses to train disadvantaged youths using the Lorch equipment, supporting the students’ pursuit of a career in welding. ‘The machinery is extremely modern’, says Gavhame.

    ‘The students are impressed by the quality, and that’s another source of motivation for them.’ To prevent accidents, the trainers also really value work safety. ‘Besides material science and technical skills, we make sure all trainees can operate the equipment in a safe and controlled fashion. Health and safety rules and regulations are a core part of our syllabus’, adds Gavhame.

    Don Bosco as an experienced partner in India, the financial support of DEG and Lorch’s know-how and expertise are the success factors of the project: Now young graduates are given good prospects of finding a good job and more welding equipment is being produced at Lorch’s Auenwald plant for the Indian market.

    This means that all stakeholders benefit from the sustainable partnership established by the develoPPP.de-programme: trainees, private companies, Germany and India.

    Facts | Figures

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    qualified youths.

    Career perspectives

    All the trainees of the first two courses found employment immediately.

    Training

    The Lorch-Don Bosco Welding Technology School of Excellence is established as a permanent vocational training facility.

    Cooperation

    Other companies use the facilities for the vocational education and training of young people.