Best Welding Co-Ordinator Award – Chandri Swanepoel


Chandri Swanepoel, a shining star in the field of welding and non-destructive testing (NDT), has been awarded the esteemed SAIW Best Welding Co-ordinator Award. Her journey to this accolade was marked by relentless dedication to quality and a commitment to surpassing industry standards, ensuring top-notch precision and safety in welding projects.

A career driven by precision

Chandri’s journey into the realm of welding inspection is rooted in her fascination with the fusion of artistry and precision that welding embodies. While she initially aspired to delve into art and design, her exposure to various facets of construction led her to discover the artistry of welding.

This artistry gradually transformed into a passion as she realized that welding is not just about connecting metal pieces. It’s about guaranteeing the strength, durability, and safety of structures we rely on daily. Chandri’s dedication grew from the belief that meticulous inspections could unveil the integrity of welds, ensuring the reliability of vital structures, from bridges to life-saving medical equipment.

Her motivation also stemmed from the profound impact of high-quality welding inspection. In industries where precision is paramount, a perfectly executed weld can be the difference between success and failure.

Chandri was also inspired by the continuous innovations within welding inspection, particularly the development of advanced techniques like non-destructive testing. This innovation revealed the limitless potential for enhancing the quality of welds, motivating her to contribute to the field’s evolution.

Breaking barriers

Chandri Swanepoel’s journey wasn’t without its obstacles. She faced the significant challenge of navigating a predominantly male-dominated field as a female in welding inspection. In an industry where gender diversity is still evolving, she encountered traditional stereotypes and biases that hindered her progress.

Breaking into this male-dominated profession presented unique challenges. Initially, her expertise and skills were met with scepticism merely because of her gender. She had to work exceptionally hard to prove her competence and challenge the prevailing gender biases.

She also confronted subtle yet persistent hurdles, such as being the sole woman in a room full of male colleagues, which occasionally resulted in feelings of isolation. Overcoming these challenges demanded not only technical proficiency but also resilience and unwavering self-belief. She had to assert her presence, showcase her knowledge, and consistently deliver outstanding results to earn the respect she deserved.

However, despite these challenges, Chandri views her journey as a testament to the power of perseverance and determination. Overcoming gender biases not only strengthened her professionally but also gave her a unique perspective on the significance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It reinforced her commitment to breaking barriers and empowering other women to pursue careers in male-dominated fields, illustrating that passion and expertise transcend gender boundaries.

Inspiring the next generation

As a recipient of the SAIW Best Welding Co-ordinator Award, Chandri ‘s advice for aspiring professionals is both insightful and inspirational:

  • Embrace Continuous Learning
    The welding and NDT industries are continually evolving. Stay curious, attend workshops, pursue certifications, and keep updating your skills. A commitment to lifelong learning will keep you at the forefront of the industry.
  • Develop a Strong Technical Foundation
    Master the fundamentals. Build a solid understanding of welding processes, materials, and NDT methods. A strong technical foundation is essential and forms the basis for innovative problem-solving.
  • Prioritise Attention to Detail
    Excellence lies in the details. Pay close attention to your work, whether examining a weld or conducting an inspection. Thoroughness and precision are the hallmarks of a great welding and NDT professional.
  • Cultivate Effective Communication Skills
    Being able to explain complex technical concepts clearly to clients, colleagues, and team members is invaluable. Good communication fosters collaboration, prevents misunderstandings, and builds trust.
  • Seek Mentorship and Networking
    Find mentors within the industry who can guide you. Learning from experienced professionals provides invaluable insights. Additionally, network with peers, attend industry events, and participate in forums. Networking expands your knowledge and opens opportunities for collaboration and career growth.
  • Be Adaptable and Open-Minded
    Embrace change and be open to trying new approaches. The industry is dynamic, and being adaptable to new technologies and methodologies will set you apart. Stay open-minded and willing to explore unconventional solutions to challenges.
  • Demonstrate Reliability and Professionalism
    Be reliable and professional in your work ethic. Consistently delivering high-quality results, meeting deadlines, and maintaining a professional demeanour fosters trust and credibility. Reputation and reliability are your most valuable assets.
  • Inspire Others and Give Back
    Share your knowledge and experiences with others. Mentorship is not just about learning; it’s also about giving back to the community. Your guidance can shape their careers and contribute to the growth of the industry as a whole.