Skills and sustainability – Sheetmetal

SkillsOne visits Warwick Johnston, Sheet metal Teacher at Granville TAFE, who chats about the changes in the metal fabrication industry, which reduce wastage, and is more environmentally friendly.

Warwick shows us these changes so we have an idea of what can be done to increase the environmentally friendliness of the WorldSkills Competition!

A Partnership Project between DSF and WorldSkills Australia (WSA) In an effort to address challenges around environmental sustainability and skills Dusseldorp Skills Forum (DSF) and WorldSkills Australia (WSA) are working together to make the 2008 WSA National Final Competition as environmentally friendly as possible and showcase aspects of skills & sustainability.

Green Skills and Knowledge All, the Project Designers of the WSA National Competition categories, have been approached to see where they can introduce real & relevant sustainable initiatives; from the design of the project to procurement of materials and including the testing & measuring of the trade skills of the young skilled competitors.

There are many stories about the sustainable actions & skills already undertaken within trade categories and new steps to be introduced and they will be captured and shared via multimedia.

About Eco Skills Teams:

For the first time ever in the WorldSkills movement, nationally and internationally, the ecological footprint of a WorldSkills competition will be measured to provide a benchmark for future WSA Australia competitions. Young TAFE and University students will be trained and skilled as part of an Eco Skills Team that will gather data and benchmark the Nationals. This activity will provide WorldSkills Australia with the blueprint for continuous improvement around total event sustainability in future years. With the continued focus on environmentally sustainable practice WorldSkills Australia will lead the way in encouraging young trades people to adopt smarter, more informed and sustainable ways of working.

Modifications to WorldSkills Competition to make more environmentally friendly:

- Using a guillotine and CNC brake pads. Not doing oxy cutting, which will significantly reduce emissions. Instead will use a plasma cutter, which is much more eco-friendly.

- Have requested that the CPG frame which is usually painted be tubing, so when it is burnt it doesn't go into the atmosphere.

- Be making an LPG, which is cleaner than oil, and be using inert gas, which doesn't cause pollution

- Use 3 different kinds of scrap metal bins, and recycle them all.

- Need to ensure that they put the scrap metal in the bin immediately, so the metals don't get confused.

- Using a Robo saw, which doesn't use as much energy.

- A possibility with using recyclable paper in between stainless steel sheets as opposed to them being coated with plastic.

- With grinding, could use a dust extractor to be set up on all the grinders or belts.

- Could incorporate environmental awareness as risk management, give them a questionnaire stating that they will be required to make sure that the materials go into the correct bin.

- Incorporate questions about ways to improve welding, and work responsibility to clean up.

About Warwick:

Warwick has been working with WorldSkills for 26 years. He first came across it in 1988, in 1989 became the workshop manager, organising the machinery for events and is now the national designer and national judge. He recently had a training session for three competitors National Comp in July.

Information for Sheet Metal Workers:

Career Background Employment prospects are anticipated to be excellent for sheet metal workers who work in construction or sheet metal manufacturing for construction purposes. Many job openings will be caused by retirements or career shifts by professionals.

Growing populations and economies will lead to higher demand for the work of sheet metal workers in houses, offices, factories, and other buildings. This new construction requires new climate control systems, ventilation, and other things that require sheet metal. HVAC technicians will also be in high demand in remolding work in older buildings.

Also, more jobs will be created as more people appreciate the aesthetic qualities of sheet metal. Interior designers are using sheet metal in new, decorative ways. However, fewer positions for sheet metal workers will be available in the manufacturing industry.

As with most construction occupations, employment was be unstable. Most projects are short-term and fluctuate with the economy. However, this instability is tempered by the fact that maintenance and repair work is called for even when there is little new construction.

Also many people want sheet metal workers to install more modern HVAC systems, even during recessions, to make their homes, offices, or other structures more energy- and cost-efficient.

Sheet metal workers also have more stable employment than other construction professionals as they lose less work to inclement weather since they do most of their work inside buildings.