By The Realityworks Marketing Team
The American Welding Society estimates that the welding industry will face a shortage of about 400,000 operators by 2024. Although there are multiple reasons for this shortage, from an aging population to a lack of incoming skilled workers, we believe the solution lies in recruiting and training future welders and engaging young people in welding-related careers. That’s why we created our line of 21st Century welding education and training tools, including the guideWELD VR welding simulator.
Below are five ways that educators and professionals can use virtual welding education to engage participants and encourage them to enter welding careers.
1. Exploratory tool for Career and Technical Education programs
As other educators have learned, virtual welding gives students a chance to try out welding in a safe, virtual environment. Additionally, the 21st Century technology engages today’s students and gets them excited about these potential careers.
John Paulus, the Mobile Manufacturing Lab Technician for Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, WI, has seen this first-hand. “We’re trying to get these kids excited about getting skilled and getting into manufacturing careers, said Paulus. “This equipment is enhancing our ability to do that.”
2. First two weeks of basic welding programs
The safe nature of virtual environments makes them far easier for beginning welders to adjust to when welding for the very first time, while allowing instructors to remain focused on skill development.
According to Greg Siepert, Welding Technology Instructor at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, KS, the guideWELD VR system in particular “gives [students] real-time feedback on what they’re doing and if it is right or wrong, and it builds their confidence.”
3. Competition within the classroom
Competitions encourage users to continue enhancing their form and technique; it enables them to build muscle memory and acts as a training aid for students to reference as they enter the shop to perform real welding. Plus, it’s fun!
“We had competitions with the guideWELD VR unit,” recalls Rodian Manjarres, a welding student and guideWELD VR user from Greer, SC. “Everyone was trying to beat each other’s scores and kept taking more turns. Everyone was really excited about it.”
3. Demonstration tool
Using virtual welding gives the instructor an opportunity to do a weld and show the entire classroom on a projection screen rather than gathering in a welding booth. Virtual welding also allows for replaying a weld to continue the learning for each student.
“We found that the simulators really push the students. By the time they get done with them, they’re ready for the real thing and they jump right in,” – Dan Leinen, retired Agriculture Education Teacher at Harlan Community High School, Harlan, IA
4. Key welding program component
When integrated throughout an entire semester, virtual welding education help users increase their amount of simulated arc time, giving them more opportunities to build muscle memory and refine their techniques while saving on costly consumables.
“We saw a 70% reduction in consumables costs with the virtual welders,” Stated George Karr, an IT administrator and welding instructor at the Hollenstein Career & Technology Center in Fort Worth, TX.
The guideWELD VR® welding simulator is a cost-effective tool that enables users to master basic skills and learn proper technique in a safe, virtual environment. To learn more visit, www.realityworks.com
Share your best practices with others in the comments below!