Welding skills: why local is lekker again
30 July 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201915524
IN the last few years, following a decision to focus more on the internationally recognised International Institute of Welding’s (IIW) IWIP Basic, Standard and Comprehensive programmes, the Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) removed its Inspectors Level 1 course from its curriculum while its Inspectors Level 2 took somewhat of a back seat.
“In retrospect, we see that this has not worked out in the way it was planned and we will, with immediate effect, be bringing back a new version of the Inspectors programme which includes both the SAIW Inspectors courses and the IIW courses,” said Jim Guild, SAIW’s caretaker executive director.
He added that for more than 40 years the SAIW Welding Inspector programme (Level 1 and Level 2) were the backbone of the South African welding industry and by far the most popular courses at the institute.
These courses have been specifically tailored to meet local industry requirements and, since inception, they have been the preferred education and training choice of the large end-user organisations and fabricators in the local welding industry. “It’s time to refocus on these iconic courses,” said Guild.
SAIW systems and quality manager, Harold Jansen, said that while the outstanding quality of the IWIP courses was not doubted by the local industry, it had become clear that industry wants the SAIW courses to once again play a major part in the SAIW Inspectors programme.
“We have heard them, and it makes absolute sense. After all, these are courses that were developed in conjunction with local industry with content that is absolutely pertinent to South African conditions and local industry characteristics.”
Against this background, the institute has launched what it’s calling “a new, improved” Inspectors programme, which incorporates both SAIW Levels 1 and 2 with the IIW programmes.
Shelton Zichawo, SAIW training services manager said that from a local perspective alone, the advantages of the new arrangement are enormous in that it focuses squarely on national requirements in the development of local competence and addresses directly the local needs of national skills development. “And, perhaps most importantly, it’s what our industry wants.”
He said that by combining the best locally focused programme with an internationally recognised programme, the SAIW will offer the best of both worlds.
“By amalgamating parts of the IWIP programmes with SAIW programmes we have created a world-class product to the satisfaction of the local industry. From the students’ perspective they obtain two diplomas simultaneously at each level – one South Africa focused and one internationally focused,” Zichawo said.
Upon successful completion of the SAIW Inspectors Level 1 qualification examination, the student will not only be issued with an SAIW Inspectors Level 1 qualification, providing access to the South African industry, but also with an IWI Basic Diploma, allowing individuals to enter the global market, with an internationally recognised and respected International Institute of Welding (IIW) qualification.
Should students want to go to the next level, after completing SAIW Inspector Level 1 course, they will no longer be required to obtain two years’ experience as Welding Inspectors before enrolling for the SAIW Level 2 course. The two years’ experience will only come into play should a qualified Senior Welding and Fabrication Inspector (Level 2) wish to obtain the IWIP Standard qualification.
“This enables the students to get into the market two years earlier with a higher qualification making them that much more marketable in the industry and more likely to get a higher paying job,” said Zichawo.
He added that the IWIP Comprehensive course, the highest level in the Inspectors programme will remain a stand-alone course in the future.
“A very small number of people may be caught at a crossroad in the progression path and each person will be treated sympathetically and with support from SAIW to ensure they achieve the best outcome for their future,” Zichawo said.