Career opportunities for the taking in the inspection field
23 February 2013
There are, however, many lucrative career choices in inspection technology. Such careers include being a Process Plant Inspector, Welding Inspector, a Competent Person for pressure vessels and boilers, a Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) specialist or a Third Party Inspector (IPE). Experience is often a pre-requisite for a job but sometimes that experience cannot be obtained without a qualification. It is a catch 22 situation. The good news about careers in these fields is that many of them can be achieved through progressive modular training programmes offered by SAIW.
The SAIW training programmes are devised by industry experts, i.e. those people that will be offering jobs to graduates from the training programmes. The modular approach means that a young person can make a start to a career and progress over a period of time until eventually they have opportunities as technology experts or can move into technology and business management.
Inspectors play a key role in the integrity of either newly manufactured or in-service plant or equipment. They contribute in a large measure to the safety of people and the economic wellbeing of manufacturing concerns. NDT specialists, in particular, often use state of the art ultrasonic or radiographic equipment to help key decisions to be made.
Career opportunities exist nationally and internationally in industries such as construction, petrochemical, the power industry, aviation, mining and the marine industry.
Increasingly, the world over, there is a move to certification programmes to support the underlying inspector qualifications. These certification programmes are intended to ensure inspectors are competent for the tasks and responsibilities associated with their jobs and that they retain competency. SAIW is mindful of developments in certification and the independent industry representatives who manage its certification programmes ensure that they are aligned with the international standards used for harmonisation of competency levels.
The welding industry is healthy and the global projections for 2013 and beyond are optimistic. According to a recent survey conducted in America by the American Welding Society, respondents overwhelmingly felt that welding is “here to stay” and 70% of the respondents predicted substantial growth for the industry. With South Africa’s development plans, careers in welding and inspection technology offer a safe long-term career choice. Companies manufacturing welding equipment and consumables offer further careers opportunities in production, engineering, sales and research and development.
There is no substitute for a good founding education on which to build a career and welding inspection is no different in this respect. Welding inspection training and qualification systems build on secondary and tertiary education qualifications. The welding industry is remarkable in that it affords career opportunities to persons with a Grade 10 school leaving certificate and also those that may have a PhD from a university.