SAIW launches fast track international welder qualification for experienced welders

The SAIW is proud to announce the launch of an exciting new streamlined international welder qualification via the new fast tracked IIW Standard Diploma for experienced welders.

This stems from The 75th IIW Annual Assembly and International Conference which took place in Tokyo in July, where delegates approved the proposal from the IIW International Welding Working Group to tailor the current course specifically for experienced welders. This was achieved by lowering the barriers to entry and boosting the number of global international welders in the world.

SAIW CEO Herman Potgieter who was in attendance at the conference says; “There is no doubt that there is a definite need for this type of international qualification which creates a global benchmark of welding skill allowing for standardisation and the enhancement of skills.

“It is also particularly relevant in South Africa where there are plenty of highly experienced welders who are already well established in the field of welding but in certain instances lack the IIW ISO 9606 certified global qualification which precludes them from working on large projects. This results in the import of welders from other countries.

“We therefore want to grow the number of international welders in South Africa and across the African continent so that we no longer have to source foreign welders but rather utilise local welders who are internationally qualified in a certain process.”

Focused and fast

The idea is thus to make the shortened course relevant to a particular area of welding expertise. Most welders have developed a speciality and are highly experienced in one position and one area and do not want to or need to, go through the entire IIW programme again. They, therefore, require a focused qualification that recognises their specific area of expertise

For example, a structural steel welder would prefer to focus on plate welding theory while tube welders in the petrochemical or power generation sectors are far more familiar with specialised tube welding which forms the bulk of what they do.

The new streamlined option therefore bypasses the need for them to go back to basics and complete the full course. It may not be as comprehensive and offer all processes, materials and welding positions but it does provide the highly specialised knowledge and assessment to take experienced welders to the next level. Upon completion of the course, students get an International Welder certificate that is proof of them having trained in a certain position and process and material.

The benefit of the new approach becomes clear when one considers that at present the IIW course for a beginner welder takes around 26 weeks for one welding process at an approximate cost of R140 000 (progress dependent). The introduction of the new format IIW Standard Diploma means that experienced welders can supercharge their training process over one to two weeks including all training, the assessment (examination) and materials at a cost of around R17 000, an 88% cost saving!

Course structure & criteria

The IIW Standard Diploma covers the theory behind a single welding process either fillet, plate or tube in the form of lectures as well as written and practical tests. If these are passed the student receives an IIW Diploma and a Welding Certificate of record which provides unequivocal proof that the welder complies with the IIW standards.

To access the course, a student must have been a full-time welder for at least two of the previous three years and possess a valid welder qualification certificate. “This provides proof that they have received the correct training and they also have to have a CV with the endorsement of a current or previous employer that they have been employed as a welder,“ explains Potgieter.

Reasons to obtain the diploma

The key benefits of obtaining the IIW diploma are certification in an international level of welding which will make students much more marketable from a job perspective and thereby increase their job prospects locally and allow them to apply for jobs overseas should they leave the country.

The IIW qualification is also the perfect springboard for more advanced careers in welding inspection and co-ordination. These jobs add much needed depth of experience on welding projects at ground level and are higher level skills that are often lacking on key projects resulting in poor oversight and quality checks and control.

Looking to the future Potgieter says; “We are committed to meeting the requirement from local industry for South African welders with internationally recognised qualifications who can add immense value to new and maintenance projects in the petrochemical, power generation and oil and gas industries, all of which are set to experience an investment boom in the next year.”