SAIW Executive Director John Tarboton says 2022 will see a growth strategy in play to bolster the SAIW’s practical welding school which is a hub of skills upliftment. “Many students come through our doors who have attended other training institutions but have found it difficult to embark on a rewarding and lucrative career due to the level of their skills being insufficient for local and foreign projects. This is something we rectify with our training courses which are so essential, as certified welders with in-demand skills have a huge role to play in rebuilding our economy.”

Ease of access

To achieve this goal, one of the big drivers for the SAIW has been to enhance the ease and accessibility of its training courses. This has seen the adoption of a modularised approach, where students and employers now have the flexibility to train themselves and staff when their workload allows as well as access to flexible payment methods.

From 2022, the SAIW will also offer a virtual International Welding Specialist course after hours (Monday to Thursday 6 pm to 8 pm) and hybrid Saturday sessions – namely in-person and virtual. The IWS qualification will allow attendees to progress their career into a more senior production supervisor role such as a senior foreman. The course will run one week (16 hours) a month over 12 months, with monthly payments for each week of training

National Expansion

The SAIW is also actively planning for the launch of the Mpumalanga Stainless Initiative (MSI) and is developing its recognised role within this project. “The Steve Tshwete Local Municipality in Middelburg is home to steel, petrochemical and beverage production facilities and as a result, the region’s manufacturing sector contributes 17.2% to local GDP, higher than that of the province and the nation.

“Steel beneficiation is a cornerstone of the MSI, which presents a sizeable market opportunity for SMMEs. This would require artisanal skills such as welding, however, and SAIW is planning to establish a satellite branch in MSI’s facility to meet these needs,” explains Tarboton.

Africa Expansion

Forging a path to uplifting welding skills across the African continent, The SAIW has signed an SLA with The African Welding Federation (TWF) for a range of certification schemes, including ISO 3834 Company Certification as well as the training, qualification and certification of welders, fitters, welding inspection personnel; and pressure vessel inspectors.

Tarboton reports; “Our SAIW Inspector L1 and L2 Welding Inspector courses are already very well known in Africa and TWF want to use these as the basis for an Africa-wide TWF Inspector Qualification and certification programme.”

Global Expansion

Exposure to global training and insight is also key to local skills upliftment and the SAIW has formed The Welding Innovations Network (WIN) together with the Canadian Welding Bureau; HERA from New Zealand and the Indian Institute of Welding. The idea is to use the best available world experts to deliver webinars that cut across geographical boundaries. “We have started with a series by Professor Pingsha Dong from the University of Michigan, who has done a lot of work setting up welding standards in the US,” concludes Tarboton.