The Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) Foundation aims to provide training to disadvantaged individuals in a range of areas that include welding and inspection, and the training of trainers for welding and related technologies.
In addition, integrated steel and mining company ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA), in collaboration with the SAIW Foundation, have formed an education partnership. The SAIW Foundation agreed to provide welding training to six Grade 12 learners from AMSA’s Sebokeng-based Science Centre. The learners come from disadvantaged backgrounds and were unable to study further. AMSA has been sponsoring SAIW for many years with flat and tubular steel material for training purposes.
One of the deserving recipients of an SAIW Foundation bursary is Nndwakhulu Mufamadi, who has been given the opportunity to undertake the SAIW’s International Welding Technologist (IWT) training course. He completed a National Diploma and a Bachelor of Technology degree in Engineering Metallurgy from tertiary education institution the Vaal University of Technology in 2012.
After his studies, he worked at tertiary education institution the University of Johannesburg Metal Casting Technology Station from 2014 to 2015. In early 2016, he applied to participate in the IWT course while working at welding company Metal Protection Engineering (MPE) in Vanderbijlpark on a volunteer basis, in order to obtain work experience.
Being awarded the IWT training course bursary was an important opportunity to provide Mufamadi with additional skills to improve his prospects in the welding field. During the IWT training course, he proved to be a dedicated and active participant, which was evident in his examination results, many of which were passed with distinction, making him one of the top achievers in his class. Currently, he still works at MPE as a welding coordinator.
SAIW executive director Sean Blake expressed his pride in Mufamadi’s success. “We are confident his new-learnt knowledge will benefit him, MPE and the welding industry at large.”
AMSA’s operations outside Gauteng are located in Newcastle, in KwaZulu-Natal, and Saldanha, in the Western Cape. These locations also participate in AMSA’s flagship corporate social investment project, and are a striking example of how a public–private partnership is addressing both a national development challenge and a serious and urgent business need. Besides addressing an urgent national priority, it is a way for AMSA to develop a pipeline of learners studying engineering and related fields who could potentially become future AMSA employees.
Blake has commended AMSA for its unyielding assistance, which SAIW looks forward to reciprocating.
A welder from AMSA has won first prize at the fifth International Arc Cup Welding Competition, which was held in Shanghai, China, from June 24 to 28. The competition formed part of the seventieth General Assembly and International Conference of the International Institute of Welding, hosted by the Chinese Mechanical Engineering Society and the Chinese Welding Society. A total of 16 countries participated in the event.
Osbourne Samukelo Mbambani won in the student category of the competition. SAIW business development manager Etienne Nell, who was also South Africa’s team leader in China, and senior category judge of the competition, expressed his excitement at Mbambani’s achievement.
“He simply blew everyone away with his attitude, skill and application. Given the fact that he had never been on an overseas trip before; that he competed against dozens of the best young welders in the world in a strange country; and that the marking was among the strictest of any world competition, what he achieved was nothing short of miraculous,” Nell enthused.
Mbambani was pleased with his achievement, expressing his gratitude toward Nell, the sponsors and the South African welding team. “China and the Arc Cup was an incredible experience. I never expected to win but it goes to show that one can only do one’s best and hope that is enough. This time it was.”
South Africa’s team consisted of Nell, coach and junior judge Valencia Hendriks, and competitors Houston Isaacs and Mbambani.
The competition comprised a welding theory competition, a robot welding competition and a welding skills competition. There were four categories – student welder, senior welder, robotic welding and theory – the latter two received no participation from South Africa. The team received sponsorship from sector education and training authority for manufacturing, engineering and related services, Merseta.