With fabrication companies finding it difficult to recruit welders for their operations, the Southern Africa Institute of Welding (SAIW) has launched the welding register to mitigate this challenge.
“Many welding schools have been enrolling students for two- or four-week welding courses, as opposed to a 20-week welding course, to become qualified welders. This has resulted in these students not being able to weld according to the standards that the industry requires. As a result, some fabrication companies have opted to upskill their unskilled workers with potential, into welders, as opposed to recruiting a welder with a certificate from a welding school,” says SAIW executive director John Tarboton.
To raise the credibility of qualified welders, the institute has compiled a database of SAIW qualified welders who have applied their knowledge in practical applications.
“To date, the names of about 250 people have been placed on the welding register. The idea is to continue adding more names to the register. This not only enables fabricators to recruit qualified welders but also serves as a platform through which welders can connect with potential clients for various projects.”
Tarboton adds that the welding register is only open to SAIW members. The SAIW ensures that individuals on the register have been tested at its welding school first to ensure that their qualifications and competency are credible.
The register also enables fabricators to check welders’ certifications
To further ensure that there are more qualified welders locally and in Africa, the SAIW has partnered with eight African countries to form what is referred to as The Welding Federation (TWF).
The federation’s membership comprises representatives from Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, Mozambique, Egypt and Nigeria with applications from other countries now being received. The board has been elected and represents North, East, West and Southern Africa.
“To grow Africa’s economy, industrialisation is key and industrialisation through manufacturing is important to the welding industry, as sectors such as construction and manufacturing use the enabling technology of welding,” says Tarboton.
If African countries are not able to produce quality welding that meets specific welding standards, they will not be able to compete in the international welding market, he mentions.
Tarboton adds that the establishment of TWF aims to meet the demand for upskilling and the sharing of information across Africa.
TWF plans to provide a platform through which fabricators and manufacturers in African countries can obtain ISO 3834 company certification from the SAIW.
Further, the SAIW will train welding instructors from Africa at its Johannesburg facility or in their respective home countries on how to weld according to international standards.
“As a result of this collaboration among African countries, the aim is to localise the upskilling of people in Africa and keep the training, development and company certification in Africa.”