SHELTON ZICHAWO From a local industry perspective, the advantages of the new Welding Inspectors programme are enormous
There has been an encouraging response to the revamped Welding Inspectors Programme recently launched by the Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW), says training services manager Shelton Zichawo.
“After a deep analysis, extensive research and taking into account the needs and desires of the local industry, we launched a new, improved programme which incorporates both SAIW Levels 1 and 2 with the relevant International Institute of Welding (IIW) programmes.”
He adds that from a local industry perspective, the advantages of the new programme are enormous; it focuses squarely on national requirements in the development of local competence, and addresses directly the local needs of national skills development.
“Perhaps most importantly, it’s what our industry wants, judging from the positive response thus far,” he notes.
SAIW caretaker executive director Jim Guild says for more than 40 years, the SAIW Welding Inspector programme’s Level 1 and 2 were the backbone of the South African welding industry and by far the most popular courses at the SAIW.
The courses have been specifically tailored to meet local industry requirements and, since inception, they have been the preferred education and training choice of the large end-user organisations and fabricators in the local welding industry.
“For some reason, I think the SAIW started taking these iconic courses for granted and it was time to refocus on them. I am delighted that our action seems to be bearing fruit,” he says.
Refining the Courses
To ensure the best possible standards, the SAIW has taken cognisance of the latest industry feedback and has refined the courses to ensure they are completely up to date with the pertinent technology.
“By amalgamating parts of the International Welding Inspection Personnel (IWIP) with SAIW programmes, we have created a world-class product to the satisfaction of the local industry. From the students’ perspective, they obtain two diplomas simultaneously at each level – one South Africa focused and another internationally driven,” says Zichawo.
He adds that, upon successful completion of the SAIW Inspectors Level 1 qualification, the student will not only be issued with an SAIW Inspectors Level 1 qualification providing access to the South African industry, but also with an International Welder Basic Diploma. This will allow individuals to enter the global market, with an internationally-recognised and respected International Institute of Welding qualification.
Should students want to go to the next level, after completing the SAIW Inspector Level 1 course, they will no longer be required to obtain two years’ experience as Welding Inspectors before enrolling for the SAIW Level 2 course.
The two years’ experience will only come into play should a qualified Senior Welding and Fabrication Inspector (Level 2) wish to obtain the IWIP Standard qualification.
“This enables the students to get into the market two years earlier with a higher qualification, making them more marketable in the industry and more likely to get a higher paying job,” says Zichawo.
He adds that the IWIP Comprehensive course, the highest level in the Inspectors programme, will remain a standalone course in the future.
“A small number of people may be caught at a crossroad in the progression path. Each person will be treated sympathetically and with support from SAIW to ensure they achieve the best outcome for their future,” he concludes.