Nigerian Students at SAIW Notch Up Firsts

The pioneering “Train the Welder Trainer” programme that the Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) undertook in conjunction with the Nigerian Institute of Welding (NIW) has been a great success. The programme has not only produced Nigeria’s first International Welders, but also its first International Welding Practitioners, first International Welding Specialists and – last but not least – Africa’s first female International Welding Specialist.

A high-profile Nigerian delegation visited South Africa recently to attend the final graduation ceremony at SAIW, which saw nine Nigerian students receive International Welding Specialist certificates after four months’ training in Johannesburg. All of the original intake of 20 students had qualified as International Welders and 14 went on to achieve International Welding Practitioner status..

“The Nigerian students, some of whom had only limited welding skills when they arrived in South Africa, worked incredibly hard to meet the certification standards and progress through the different qualification levels. Spending up to four months so far from home isn’t easy and we take our hats off to these students for their staying power and commitment,” says SAIW Training Manager Etienne Nell.

“SAIW lecturers and instructors in the practical welding school also responded magnificently and went the extra mile to help our visitors achieve great results.”

Professor Andy Koursaris, SAIW President, said at the graduation ceremony the “Train the Trainer” project was a wonderful example of regional cooperation. “A skills revolution is needed on the African continent, and this programme has shown us what can be achieved when we work together.”

The Nigerian Petroleum Technology Development Fund provided funds for the training programme, which is aimed at building local skills capacity in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, one of the largest in the world. In terms of the agreement with the NIW, the SAIW, an authorised national body of the IIW, is to help Nigeria train and certify welding personnel to international standards.