Well, I quit the TIG welding course.
I’d had reservations about the course from day one. The opening night was a theory class, that frankly wasn’t particularly professional in its delivery.
Week 2 and 3, I made some progress, but spent a lot of time dicking around with the machine to try to get it into an optimal state – which means that I never got to know if the problems I was having were a result of my physical technique, or a misconfiguration of the machine.
This leads to a side rant:
Students should always be given tools that are of sufficient quality, configuration and maintenance, that they can learn the physical practice of a skill, isolated from any influence the tool might have.
The other problem came from the fact that there were just too many students for a single teacher, which meant that when you had a problem, you had tens of minutes to wait before he came over to address what was wrong, which when it happens a couple of times per class, means you’re losing a pretty significant hunk of your course time.
Oh yeah, and to find the teacher in order to get help, you had to walk down the corridor between the welding bays, where half the students had their welding curtains open while welding, which means your eyes are exposed to weld-flash – not the best idea when you’re driving home at night in the rain.
Added to that, the class roll wasn’t “computerised”, whatever that was supposed to mean – which amounted to every class starting with people having to pass around a piece of paper, find their student number, and write it down with their name and signature – something the teacher could have done beforehand, meaning we’d lose 30 minutes of our 3 hour class before we’d even started.
So, on the 4th week I cracked – 30 minutes on the roll, then angle grinders to prepare my pieces of metal, that had their wheels worn down to nubs. My machine was in a state of disrepair from the previous user, and the parts I needed to set it up for my use were nowhere to be found amongst the mess of bits and pieces in various boxes on the workbench. I went to ask the teacher for a new critical part, and sat down to wait for him. 20 minutes later I was still waiting, so I attempted to make do with a part I thought might do the job, but the machine room I needed to use to clean it up was offline. One thing after another conspired to stop me getting any significant work done.
It wasn’t until 15 minutes before the class was due to finish that the teacher came to check on my progress, and seems mystified as to why I haven’t gotten stuff done. So, I told hi what a joke I thought the night had been, and that I was going to seek a refund. Then I left.
I sent a complaint letter, an angry complaint letter, and they responded, saying I’ll get a full refund, and that they’re going to be reviewing OH&S practices.
Aside from that, I went down to Brisbane overnight to see a gig at a venue which wouldn’t let me take my camera in, so I had to walk back to the hotel, drop it off, then come back. I am getting really sick of this “no professional cameras” garbage that seems to be springing up all over the place.