NAMUR - 28 June 2022 - BEMAS A.S.B.L., the Belgian professional association for maintenance, has awarded the first "Prix Prof. Leenaerts". The winner is Anthony Vanhufel, a student in the 7th Qualification Maintenance Technician of Industrial Automated Systems at ITN - Namur. The student wrote his thesis on "The realisation of maintenance procedures (IMA).
Maintenance technicians have been a profession in short supply for years. The FOREM online job database now contains more than 6000 vacancies for maintenance technicians. This is almost 3 times the number of vacancies for nurses, traditionally referred to as the most understaffed profession. However, the number of schools offering specific training in technical maintenance is limited.
The "Prix Prof. Leenaerts" is a competition for students in their final year or 7th year of specialisation in technical and vocational education, who write their TFE or internship report on maintenance or reliability. With this prize, BEMAS wants to encourage young people in technical and vocational education to start their career in maintenance, like Prof. Robert Leenaerts, with the ambition to become a real high-level industrial leader. The Prof. Leenaerts award is already a first reference on his CV.
Winner and finalists
As a 7th year student of Maintenance Technician for Industrial Automated Systems, Anthony Vanhufel presented a thesis on The realisation of maintenance procedures (IMA). For his thesis, he worked at EQUANS for Aperam Châtelet, where he created instructions and checklists for maintenance. The jury chose Anthony Vanhufel for the quality of his internship report, his passion for electrical and mechanical maintenance tasks, his integration into the EQUANS team and his respect for intervention and safety procedures.
As the winner of the Prof. Leenaerts Award, Anthony receives not only a certificate but also a cash prize of €500. At the Technical Institute of Namur, there is now also a BEMAS award that will be displayed in the trophy cabinet.
The other finalists, Guillaume Waeris and Amélien Dehoux, from the same school, receive a cash prize of €200. Guillaume Waeris worked on preventive maintenance and the use of QR codes on a machine. Amélien Dehoux made a maintenance plan for a motor pump.
During the proclamation at the Technical Institute of Namur, the vice-president of BEMAS, André Degraeve, gave a short speech and explained the idea of the Prof. Leenaerts prize: "For us, Prof. Leenaerts is an example to follow. Robert Leenaerts graduated as an engineer in Liège in 1959. He focused more on maintenance. In 1978, seeing how things were going in Belgian companies, he organised a symposium where he brought together some 200 maintenance professionals. This was the first breakthrough for maintenance in Belgium and paved the way for the creation of BEMAS. On 20 March 1989, together with Jean-Pierre Schellekens, he founded BEMAS vzw-asbl. Professor Leenaerts was also the very first president of BEMAS. He passed away in October 2021 and BEMAS will continue to dedicate itself, like its founder, to inspiring the Belgian community of maintenance and asset management professionals. "
SDT Ultrasound Solutions, the company of which André Degraeve is Managing Director, has also donated a prize for the school. It is a Rapsody Box. This innovative device can now be used at the school to simulate ultrasonic signals and allow practical work with ultrasonic detectors. Thierry Lambotte, the teacher who supervised the students' thesis, received this device together with the school's prize.
Left to right : Charles-Alexandre Lachapelle (BEMAS), André Degraeve (SDT Ultrasound Solutions), Virginie Sodini (Institut Technique de Namur), Anthony Vanhufel (gagnant), Thierry Lambotte (Institut Technique de Namur), Amélien Dehoux (finaliste), Guillaume Waeris (finaliste), Wim Vancauwenberghe (BEMAS).