In the Spotlight – Natasha Venter
F: How did you get involved in the welding industry?
NV: I was one of only three girls that matriculated in 1990 – times have changed – from the Technical High School in Sasolburg and coming from a large family, my parents did not have funds to send me to study further so I started working as a pharmacy assistant after I left school. Eight years later, in June 1998, I was given an opportunity to work at Moody International to process the documentation relating to the qualification of welding procedures and this is where my long association with the welding industry began. I spread my wings and five years later in January 2003, to gain petrochemical experience, I joined NATREF Refinery as a Senior Welding Inspector where I worked for four years.
F: Did you start with Aveng after NATREF?
NV: Yes. I was approached by DSE (also known as Aveng Steel Fabrication) in 2007 for the position of a QA/QC Manager in the fabrication workshop located in Vanderbijlpark, which I took up. In 2010 I completed my Quality Engineering Diploma through SQMI with the course affiliated with City & Guilds. During my time at DSE, I was responsible for ensuring that the company obtained certification to ISO 3834 Part 3, which they did in 2010.
F: Is it correct that you have had some nuclear experience?
NV: Well, when Aveng Group established its Nuclear division, I was approached to join them in 2012 as the Quality Manager. I was part of the team that successfully established a QHSE system certified to ISO 9001:2008 and which complied with the requirements of RD 0034 (National Nuclear Regulator requirements for Quality and Safety Management for Nuclear Installations) and NSQ-100 (Nuclear Safety & Quality Management Systems). Due to the challenging economic climate in the country and the continued uncertainty of when or if the new build would commence, the nuclear division was closed in 2015.
F: What happened then?
NV: Mike Turnbull (SHEQ Executive) for Aveng Grinaker-LTA Mechanical & Electrical took me under his wing and I got involved with the welding system that was established based on the requirements of ISO 3834 Part 2. As the company underwent restructuring based on business needs, I am currently the Quality and Welding Manager for the company and I ensure the full implementation and continuous improvement of the ISO 9001 and ISO 3834 certifications.
F: What do you think of the standard of welding in South Africa and of the SAIW?
NV: The standard is very high and the SAIW plays an important role in maintaining these excellent quality levels. As a leading training organization, the SAIW also empowers and provides opportunities for the youth who seek a career in welding. The focus needs to remain on skills development in all the welding related disciplines. The fact is that welding is the backbone of infrastructure development in any country and the SAIW is central to ensuring the optimal working of the welding industry as a whole in our country.
F: Are you directly involved with the SAIW in any way?
NV: In March 2018, I was honoured to be nominated to chair the ANBCC Board (SAIW Certification Welding Fabricator Board). These are huge shoes to fill, as previous Chairman, Peter Viljoen, has made a huge contribution to the welding industry with his association with the SAIW over the years.
F: What do you do to relax?
NV: I try to take a weekend break-away with my husband at least once a month to try and balance the stresses of work. My favourite place in South Africa is the KwaZulu Natal Midlands. When time allows, I enjoy reading, building puzzles, crosswords, sudoku, cake decorating and I love cooking.
F: Thanks Natasha. Good Luck