Barely a month into my new role as Executive Director at the SAIW, it was a privilege and honour to celebrate my inaugural and the institute’s 71st Annual Dinner with the welding and fabrication industry. Despite its long legacy and rich history, the reality is that our industry is under immense pressure and has shown successive contractions over the past five years.
The slowdown in public infrastructure spending and shrinking private sector capital spending is contributing to this lack of demand, as well as a host of other issues that have collectively led to a deterioration in the competitiveness of South African fabricators.
Despite this scenario, it is extremely encouraging to experience the ongoing support from our industry and I am particularly grateful for the contributions received from our event sponsors 71st
Annual Dinner. From my side, a big thank you, without your support this event would not have been possible.
I would also like to extend a special thank you to Jim Guild for coming to the assistance of the Institute to stabilise the ship when he was needed the most, and to agreeing on a three-month handing over period with me to ease the transition.
Overall, let me put the spotlight on some of SAIW’s achievements during the past year.
Firstly, we are proud of the work being done by the SAIW Foundation. In particular, the 15 apprentices from ArcelorMittal, who are receiving training and are making excellent progress. Feedback from ArcelorMittal management has been highly positive. Work has also been completed by our Business Development Manager Etienne Nell, on a brand-new occupational qualification supported by the Department of Higher Education and Training and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO). This will be implemented in the two Centres of Specialisation in Welding in the Boland and Uitenhage, with the aim of putting employers back in the seat of driving artisan training.
Our Training Manager, Shelton Zichawo, has completed his MBA in which he identified key areas of improvement in SAIW’s quality of service. We look forward to harnessing these insights to ensure that we are able to delight our students through the whole SAIW experience as we equip them for a career in welding.
We are also embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution with a state of the art Yaskawa Robot Welding System to be installed at the institute in the near future. This machine has the latest 4IR technology to bridge the man-machine divide and will form the linchpin of our new Robotics course that will be launched in 2020.
The successful reintroduction of the SAIW Level 1 and 2 Inspection courses has also been well received as it assists with career development and allows our students to start earning sooner.
In addition, NDT Training Manager, Mark Digby, established the Phased Array training course that was launched in February this year in collaboration with the German NDT society.
On the global front, our Quality & Systems Manager, Harold Jansen, reports that the International Committee for Non-Destructive Testing Mutual Recognition Agreement was granted earlier this year, which ensures that our SAIW qualified and certified personnel enjoy international recognition.
SAIW Certification CEO & Qualification and Certification Manager, Herman Potgieter, also reports good growth in company certifications, despite these tough economic times, which shows that companies are ready and willing to adopt international standards to produce quality products.
Lastly, we have also received our ISO 17021 accreditation from SANAS, which ensures the competence, consistency and impartiality of SAIW Certification when providing audit and certification of management systems.
John Tarboton – Executive Director