Monday, 22 July 2024
22.7 C
Durban

How welding skills can boost SA’s economic recovery

Home Metals Cutting & Welding How welding skills can boost SA’s economic recovery

WITH skilled welding artisans at hand, South African fabricatos have an unprecedented opportunity to thrive, especially within the manufacturing sector where as much as 80% of manufactured products and maintenance requires highly trained welders.

That’s according John Tarboton, Executive Director of the Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) who added that until there was an adequately trained workforce available, many South African companies and welders won’t be able to take advantage of this huge opportunity.

“The current constrained COVID-19 environment, which restricts cross border movement; means that local skills are urgently required to maintain and produce products for key South African sectors. These include power generation, mining, petrochemical, motoring, and structural steel manufacturing.”

He said welding is a scarce skill in South Africa with a resultant shortage of suitably qualified welders, who are equipped to meet the required skill level for new and existing projects.

He attributed the situation to decades of non-regulated welder training, resulting in many welders but very few who are adequately qualified or competent. “In fact, in 2017, government identified a list of 13 scarce skills with welding ranked at number two on this list, highlighting the critical need for qualified artisans in this field.”

As an internationally recognised body for the welding industry in southern Africa, the SAIW believes it can assist the situation by providing the necessary industry facilities and accredited training levels.

“Internationally, the role of the apprentice starts at an early age as part of the education curriculum where school leavers already carry artisanal value for future employment,” Tarboton said.

“Unfortunately, in South Africa, there is a stigma around being an artisan and a real lack of appreciation for the value this role holds as a potential career. Ultimately, the demand for work in current times lies in the blue-collar sector and we welcome industry co-operation and alliances for career upliftment which promotes our student welders to a level where they can add real value. This will provide better employment opportunities and provide skilled local welding services at a lower cost.”

In line with this, the SAIW is looking to establish of a national register of trained welders. The plan is to launch an online portal where SAIW members can log in and source the required skilled employee within their industry sector. “The strength of this offering is the trust that prospective employers can place in this offering, given its endorsement by the SAIW.”

The SAIW is also seeking to better serve the industry by providing a far more flexible, customised approach to the courses that it offers. This will see it developing specific skills programmes tailormade for individual students and specific sectors.

“Overall, our training courses will continue to emphasise the role of the welder within an internationally recognised playing field via our association with the International Institute of Welding (IIW). But we are also focused on training students for what is required on the ground locally.

“Ultimately, we aim to provide the required building blocks for a long-term career in welding which is in line with international standards and we also want to give our students the ability to work in local manufacturing and fabrication industries within a reasonable period of time.”

Looking ahead, Tarboton said, “With this new streamlined strategy, we aim to boost welding skills through our internationally accredited training facilities, and firmly believe that the skills we create within the local sector, will be significant contributors to the relaunch of the South African economy.”

Most Popular

Slurry sucker system puts WWT back on track

DEVELOPED by local pump and dredging expert IPR, the SlurrySucker dredging system recently provided the ideal solution for getting the emergency water dams at...

Straddle carriers enhance container handling safety

AS the wellbeing of workers on site becomes increasingly critical in all sectors, industries that operate container handling equipment are taking a closer look...

Supplier partnership ensures construction contractor’s quality

TAKING an unconventional route into the construction sector, EB Construction’s Ben Wagner has built a solid contracting business that serves residential, commercial and industrial...

Crushing and screening customers supported

IN an environment where crushing and screening operations attach great importance to equipment uptime and productivity, an extensive footprint of 11 Sandvik entities in...