Progression rate of learners through the course

The course has a large number of skills to be mastered at each level. The combinations of the parameters

gives a huge list of test-pieces to be submitted and tested as "passed"

So if one is familiar with a UK welding courses the question is going to be - how rapidly do the students get through the course with its "vast" amount of work? - and how do they manage it?

The answer is that a lot more tests are done and this is possible because the progression rate is faster. The BC learning rate is the "correct" rate and the UK learning rate is "artificially restricted".

Restricted rate of progression in UK welder training courses

This is my understanding, from having been a student in UK welding courses (3 different colleges), from working as a welder in commercial construction activity and from welding theory supported by this foundation of welding skill.

In UK courses specified test welds are often non-commercial cases and make specific use of being jammed into a barely controllable corner of the domain of feasible and/or stable welding conditions. The achieved effect is to limit the consumption of steel and welding consumables. Students have to spend a large amount of time, practicing with scrap, to get passable welds. And each weld takes a long time to complete. Plus many failures results in a much time testing and re-testing - and while the student is sawing, filing, nick-breaking and etching samples, the cost per time to the college is negligible.

To an extent it is true that welding students trained under there conditions will find working with the correct welding consumables and conditions much easier later. The problems are

The entire situation in the UK can be understood by taking the case of the standard test for SMA welding a horizontal-vertical T-fillet. The standard specification is

[In commercial practice for 6mm thickness h-v T-fillet, you would complete the weld as a one-run fillet with a 4mm dia welding rod]

The following table explains the interaction of variables which make this weld problematic:

Welding rod type Rutile - "6013" (i) Least penetrative rod - it hasn't got much fusing power to fuse a fillet corner
(ii) Rutiles arc to one side and trap slag very readily in the constricted space of a fillet corner
Welding rod size / plate thickness 2.5dia welding rod / 6mm thick plate At ~90A maximum current the 2.5dia rod does not have the power to fuse 6mm plate (40A/mm -> 240A max; 90A way too low)
Fusion stipulated Full fusion of the fillet corner Commercial codes expect the weld to fuse up to fillet corner - this requirement is excessive and unrealistic

In practice at UK welding colleges, the students are being exhausted by their second-by-second efforts to overcome the problems of running sound welds in these unrealistic conditions, compounding the slow-down of progress.

Natural rate of progression in the BC welder program

The students are using commercial-practice sized welding consumables and commercial conditions. Both

This is particularly noticeable in two cases The BC welding students are welding in the "natural" domain of conditions, broadly those used commercially. The students are "forging ahead" (welding ahead?!) in productive welding exercises.

Furthermore, the welding consumables are generally top-name brands. For example, I saw "Lincoln Excalibur" for 7018 Basics and "Lincoln 5P+" for 6010 cellulosics. Which advantages the student in learning the core skills rapidly, through well-behaving welding processes.

Regarding cost in running the courses, I am assured that the welding departments in the colleges rely upon donations to part-supply their materials consumption. Donation is obvious in the stockyards and stockrooms of the colleges. It apprears there is a well-developed cycle where skilled welding course graduates feed into local commercial companies then able to do varied high standard work, out of which the companies are able to donate varied out-of-code and offcut materials to colleges.

Next career progression paths for welders in the BC training program.