On 17 February 2011, a soldering learning laboratory was opened at the Riga Technical College in Riga, Latvia. This laboratory may be considered one of the most modern in the Baltic States.
The laboratory was equipped in the framework of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) project ‘Modernization of the Riga Technical College premises and facilities for improving study programme quality’.
This project was launched in April 2010 and its total funding was EUR 1 005 119 (85 % or EUR 854 352 of ERDF co-financing and EUR 72 067 of State budget), of which EUR 311 391 was invested in the laboratory. The project aimed at ensuring the availability of higher education in the Riga planning region corresponding to the requirements of the labour market by modernising infrastructures and facilities of education acquisition.
During the project, reconstruction work was carried out at one of Riga Technical College building (heat insulation of the facade and the roof; access for students with special needs). 26 soldering working places were purchased and fitted in the new learning laboratory to ensure that students can acquire practical skills.
Before opening the laboratory, the Headmaster of the Riga Technical College, Mr Janis Rozenblats, briefly presented the project activities and results achieved. The laboratory was officially opened by the representative of the project partner, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Director of Higher Education Department, Ms Gita Revalde, and the representative of the College Board and social partner, the President of the Latvian Electrical Engineering and Electronics Industry Association (LEtERA), Mr Normunds Bergs. When congratulating the college with the achievements of the project, Ms Gita Revalde highlighted that the learning environment, which was a particular focus of this project, is a vital aspect for ensuring education quality. Mr Normunds Bergs acknowledged that to become a good specialist, students need to use appropriate tools in their learning; therefore, furnishing such laboratories is essential.
The formal opening was followed by presentations concerning the new facilities, as well as by their practical demonstrations. The equipment was supplied by the company Festo Didactics in collaboration with the Teklab. This laboratory equipment and machines are designed as an industrial solution, so college students will be able to acquire and improve their skills in a real work environment in several areas, such as electrical engineering basics, soldering, electrical circuits, testing and measuring, as well as in modular construction.