SAIW in talks with universities

14 June 2011

SAIW in talks with universities

Jim Guild, SAIW executive director, says the shortage of higher-end skills in the field of welding and fabrication technology is dire and intervention is needed to try and reverse the situation.

“To this end the Institute is in the process of entering into agreements with both the University of Witwatersrand and Pretoria University to ensure that these universities have sufficient capabilities and capacity to teach welding and fabrication technology to senior undergraduate students and to perform post-graduate research work, leading to MSc and PhD qualifications.

“The Institute’s role is the day-to-day practical testing and qualification work that industry expects of us. But when it comes to research and longer-term development activities, it is better to seek strong partnerships with the universities.

“So, together with them, we are looking at ways of actively strengthening the welding expertise at a higher level than most of the Institute’s own programmes and we think the best approach to this is to offer support to university lecturing and post graduate bursaries.

“Pretoria University, largely because of the presence of SAIW President Prof. du Toit, has a strong welding capacity with ambitions to set up a centre of excellence and we are happy to support that initiative,” Guild says.

Recently, Pretoria University introduced a distance learning programme leading to the International Welding Engineer and Technologist qualifications.

Guild says that the SAIW are also well into discussions with Wits, which already runs an MEng programme for welding engineers, on how to improve the level of teaching senior undergraduates and on how to encourage graduates into the welding and fabrication field.

“We expect significant progress with both universities before the end of the year,” he concluded.