Messsage from Jim Guild

We’re well over a month passed the winter solstice, how time flies when you’re having fun! Yes, we are having some fun at the Institute and in the welding industry in general, but, if we’re honest with ourselves, it’s not all fun! We’re currently experiencing challenging times in the welding industry in South Africa and of course this affects the business of the SAIW.

But there’s no point in sitting back and bemoaning the tough conditions. We have to move ahead and I’m glad that this is what we are doing at the Institute.

I’m pleased to report that our recent revamping of the SAIW’s Inspectors programme, which now incorporates both SAIW Levels 1 and 2 with the relevant IIW programmes seems to be doing the trick as we have already seen an increased interest in the programme. We revamped the Inspectors programme after careful analysis and research taking into account the needs and desires of the local industry. The end result is that there are great benefits in the new programme in that that it focuses squarely on national requirements in the development of local competence, and addresses directly the local needs of national skills development. This has been our most successful educational programme and we look forward to its rejuvenation!

Another encouraging note is that the SAIW Foundation is continuously contributing, in conjunction with important industry partners, in the training of students who will end up with qualifications that will enable them to get proper jobs in the industry! How important is this in times like these for young people! SAIW Foundation is currently partnered in two projects with  ArcelorMittal and Afrox to provide 30 apprentices with top-class training enabling these young people to go on to become highly skilled welders and begin a life-time career in the welding industry. I urge all companies to take heed and to work with the SAIW Foundation for the good of the country.

There is also good news from other African countries, where we have long since realised that the SAIW needs to expand if we want to continue to grow as, locally, there is only a low level of capital expenditure producing project work, which many of our companies rely on for growth.

Firstly, in Mozambique the liquefied natural gas (LNG) developments are really big news! Recently, the US energy firm Anadarko Petroleum Corporation announced the go-ahead for the construction of a US$ 20 billion gas liquefaction and export terminal in Mozambique. Taking into account that the Mozambique GNP is just US$ 13 billion, one can appreciate what an economic transformation the developments in LNG can bring about for that country, especially when a decision is expected later this year on another even larger Exxon LNG project.

The Anadarko project will yield 12.88 mtpa of liquified gas. It involves building infrastructure to extract gas from an Area 1 field offshore northern Mozambique, pumping the gas onshore and liquefying it, ready for further export by LNG tankers, mainly to Asia and Europe, which, as Donald Trump has explained some time ago, need to cut its reliance on Russian gas. The government of Mozambique has said the project is expected to create more than 5,000 direct jobs and 45,000 indirect jobs. Mozambique could become the new UAE!

Couple the Mozambique developments with other developments in oil and gas in Uganda and Kenya and it’s plain to see that there will be many opportunities for South Africans. The types of personnel qualifications and company certifications needed for working in these projects are just what SAIW does best!

Secondly, the SAIW has been involved in training 75 welders for the O&G industry in Kenya. This has been a very successful exercise and well done to the Institute’s Willie Williams who has been the chief trainer in this exercise.

So, all is not doom and gloom with the welding industry in South Africa and the SAIW! We are determined to utilise all the opportunities on this vibrant continent, to help with getting people good, solid jobs, which, after all, is the most important issue facing all of us.

Help be part of this vital struggle by doing what you can!

Jim Guild
Caretaker Executive Director