‘ be ready to work under severe pressure’
Johannes Petrus is a boilermaker by profession and also an instructor at the Windhoek Vocational Training Centre. He has developed a passion for the trade at an early age and intends to open his own business in future. Namibian Sun caught up with him to explain what this career entails.
What is the job of a boilermaker?
A boilermaker is a trained craftsman who produces steel fabrications from plates and sections. Boilermakers are thus mainly responsible for manufacturing certain components such as chutes, pipes and various other structures to complete a certain job. So, in practical terms, boilermakers read the drawings, mark the plates and cut them before assembling them.
Briefly describe your normal day at work
There are two situations. The first one is when you are at a base workshop, while the other one is working at a plant. For the base workshop, one generally studies specific jobs for the day and carry them out within a given time-frame, which is normally carried out in four weeks. For the plant jobs, you first run inspections on the machinery, check what jobs have not been completed the previous day and finish them off. At the plant you are also required to fix whatever is broken and sometimes also apply some servicing in certain areas.
What personality skills do you need in this trade?
It is important to have an interest in this job. You must be generally good with figures and must be able to read drawings. Apart from the technical skills, you should also be a cautious person because you sometimes work with delicate equipment or machinery. One must also be aware of what is happening around you because safety is important in this trade too.
What are the major challenges in your job?
We face challenges mostly with emergencies or in case of a breakdown. At times one will be called out to a situation where urgent attention must be given to a specific job and that is always a challenge. It is a challenge because you must be ready to work under severe pressure and it is important to have the right tools.
What tools or equipment do you use in this job?
First there is the measuring tape. The others include a combination set, squares, rulers, cutting goggles, level gauge, different types and sizes of hammers, dividers, cutting grinders, a welding machine and several others.
How did you get involved in this type of job?
I studied drawing, mathematics and science at the Vocational Training Centre. It was easier to do this because one had to have had science subjects at school level.
Do you think it is rewarding enough?
It is a rewarding job because it feels good to fulfill given tasks. It also helps you to fix things around the house and sometimes you can do other jobs in your free time. It also teaches you discipline.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Most of the boilermakers and welders tend to open up their own business and I think that route is possible, provided I work hard and get some assistance in setting up such a business.
Would you recommend this job to anyone?
This is an important trade for the development of a country. We do not really need foreigners to come and do it for us. Young people who leave school must seriously consider taking it up. Even retired people who have done this are still around and provide services in various ways such as teaching. So, I will recommend it to anyone.