VSL Academy

VSL Academy, a VSL training facility that provides unique practical and theoretical training courses in post-tensioning, project management and others, incorporating a staff certification scheme

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VSL Academy

VSL's unique training centre.



Managing staff competencies: a vital activity

VSL is increasingly specialised in its activities and operates in ever more competitive markets. The continuous development of staff skills is a critical key factor in ensuring excellent performance and competitiveness, as well as career progression.

VSL launched the VSL Academy in 2008 to maintain the highest levels of knowledge and competency throughout the VSL network. The VSL Academy serves as a platform for managing the specialised operational training required for post-tensioning and VSL’s other activities, as well as providing project and general management training for site and office staff.

VSL Academy: sharing fundamentals and state of the art

Operational training in post-tensioning

The VSL Academy in Bangkok has been successfully in operation since 2008 having trained more than 1000 people. To ensure that best practices are covered and applied, the training sessions are given by experienced staff and are based on the latest updated VSL Field Manual. Access to the various levels is stringent: a written exam has to be successfully passed to fulfill the requirements in stage certification. Before being admitted to the next level, the participants have to be involved in Post-Tensioning works for a minimum of one year.

To enable hands-on practical training, post-tensioning simulations have been built on the Academy’s premises and further simulations are being designed to cover other appropriate operational procedures. The VSL Academy has performed audits on post-tensioning sites in a significant number of sites of VSL’s network over the last two years. The results leave no doubt about positive impact proper training has for production: when implementing the procedures and best practices acquired at the VSL Academy, the improvement of productivity is obvious.

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Modular training

Other operational training sessions have also been introduced, extending the VSL Academy’s scope beyond practical post-tensioning training and certification schemes. These include courses in the operation of new tools and the maintenance of tools and equipment. Future plans include courses in heavy lifting works and stay cable systems and installation techniques.

Triple certification

The VSL Academy in Bangkok has achieved triple certification in ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Systems) and OHSAS 18001 (Health & Safety Management Systems).

Typical training sequence at the VSL Academy

A typical training session at the VSL Academy is a mix between theoretical courses given by experienced lecturers and practical hands-on training on the different mock-ups.

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Good quality post-tensioning starts with properly installed ducts. In Stage I, the VSL Academy teaches the students all the small details of fixing and coupling ducts and grout vents. Grouting works can therefore be completed properly, which is important as this final operation is critical for successful corrosion protection of the strands and safeguarding the structure during its lifetime.
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Installing grout vents, drains and couplers is taught to students on full-size mock-ups.
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All students learn the correct quality procedures for controlling the receipt of materials on site.
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Students learn to use the specialised small tools and accessories that enable VSL teams to work more efficiently on site.
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Here the students are using special VSL anchor-forks and guide chords.
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Securely fitting on a safety harness and using lifting gear in the correct manner are part of the safety induction lessons.
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Students learn how to cut strand with a mini hydraulic cutter, which eliminates sparks, noise and dust issues while cutting.
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Teaching special stressing procedures enables the students to learn how to perform operations such as anchor lift-off, shimming of anchorages, de-tensioning and force checks using safe and proper procedures.
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Rigging a stressing jack on your own is child’s play for a certified VSL student.
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Butt-fusion of HDPE pipes for external post-tensioning requires special procedures in order to achieve a full-strength weld seam. An Academy-certified Stage 2 student is able to tell you in detail how it is done properly.

Outlook for the future

Stay cable mock-up
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In 2012 VSL has taken steps to add courses for Heavy Lifting and Stay Cables to the existing courses for post-tensioning, VSL Stressing Jack Maintenance and VSoL®. In preparation for these new courses, the VSL Group has made a major investment for a 50m long and 16.8m tall stay cable and heavy lifting mock-up at the VSL Academy. This mock-up allows participants to practice the activities on a realistic scale comparable to real sites. The on-site productivity right from the start of a project will be considerably improved.

Heavy lifting courses

The cable stay installation simulator at the VSL Academy is designed to accommodate a heavy lifting mock-up with four SLU 40 strand jacks to lift and lower a concrete block of about 60 tons. For heavy lifting operations on site there may be structural constraints and crane availability problems. Hence practicing different possible installation methods for the heavy lifting equipment and strands is an important and integral part of the heavy lifting training at the VSL Academy. Training includes set up of the heavy lifting system – SLU40 jacks and lifting tendons, and operation of the system under various conditions.

Train bridge gantry operators

To complement the current range of training classes provided by the VSL Academy, VSL will start up a training and certification scheme for bridge gantry engineers and supervisors. Initially, the training will emphasize on precast segmental span by span erection, but later the training will be extended to include precast segmental balanced cantilever methods.

Courses for clients

The VSL Academy is a unique tool in the PT industry. It is an excellent means to train VSL’s staff and improve the productivity on site. The Academy has the possibility to give an insight about VSL’s activities to external participants. This can be an interesting aspect for example for a supervisory body of the construction industry, which requires information about VSL systems and activities in order to subsequently – able to raise skill and safety standards on its worksites.

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