Rafael Gomez – welding professor at the workshop-school in Cienfuegos, Cuba

I’m Rafael Gomez. I am a welding and foundry professor at the Cienfuegos workshop-school. I come from the construction industry where I worked for 39 years. My specialisation is in welding and supporting foundry tasks. This workshop-school was created with the support of France, and I joined the school three years ago. In this school we have trained numerous apprentices, many of which have already graduated. Here with have our colleague Rolando Vernia, a model student who joined us in 2015. The programme is divided in two years. The first year, apprentices both study and work. During the second year, they focus on working and applying everything they have learnt and develop specific welding skills. They also learn to work with different types of machines, and repair elements of the Old City of Cienfuegos. We currently have 13 apprentices who are learning this hard but indispensable craft. The world and Cuba cannot let this craft disappear. Now, I will let Rolando share his thoughts. My name is Rolando Vernia and I joined the school in 2015, and will graduate in June 2016. I discovered the workshop-school through my family, which encouraged me to apply. I have always had an interest in welding and so I went to the workshop-school and I enrolled in the programme. My professor has taught me how to use different welding techniques. I have even overcome my fear of current and fire, and continue to weld even when sparks are flying in every direction. I have also learnt to repair bars; and to make them too. I have always loved welding because my grandfather was a welder too. I grew up watching him weld, and so when I came across welding at the workshop school, I knew that it was for me. And once the apprentices graduate, what comes next? Upon graduation, apprentices can choose to work either for the government or for themselves. Several gifted apprentices have remained as professors in the crafts of bricklaying, carpentry, plastering and stonecutting. In the case of welding, both professors, despite our age, we remain 😉

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