SAIW Open Days, soon to be in Cape Town, will play an important role

Answering the urgent need for a good career. SAIW Open Days, soon to be in Cape Town, will play an important role

As part of its strategy to promote welding as a career to the youth of the Western Cape and to the country in general, the Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) has put into motion a series of Open Days to enable young people who are in the process of deciding what to do with their lives to see what welding and its related technologies can offer them.

The first Open Day was held with great success in Johannesburg on the 11th January 2019 with Cape Town and Durban to follow in the near future. Liz Berry, SAIW’s Cape Town representative says they are looking for a suitable time for the Western Cape Open Day and will announce it shortly.

According to the SAIW executive director, Sean Blake, there is little doubt that one of the most pressing global issues for young people is finding a solid, fulfilling and financially rewarding career. “In a country like South Africa, where the unemployment rate is amongst the highest in the world, and job opportunities increasingly hard to come by, this issue is perhaps the most urgent of all,” he says.

But, he adds, all is not lost! “Welding, being the foundation of almost everything that is manufactured, constructed or built, constantly requires welding professionals to operate in a vast range of industries including the construction, automotive, oil and gas, aeronautical, shipping, power generation and more.  In fact, the welding industry is pretty much the perfect hedge against recessionary economies in terms of its ability to provide employment.

“We have called welding the ‘miracle career’ because of its ability to provide employment both locally and abroad with recent surveys showing, for example, that more than 75% of the people who successfully complete an SAIW course get employed in a stable job,” Blake says.

Open Day Initiative  

The first ‘experimental’ Open Day in Johannesburg was a rip-roaring success with nearly 50 young people attending. “The response was better than we expected pointing to the need for young people to gain first-hand experience of what the welding industry can offer in terms of a career,” says Blake.

He adds that experiencing at close quarters the wide range of career possibilities in welding helps to counter the stigma that welding is a low-paying ‘backyard’ activity for fixing gates and burglar bars. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” Blake says. “In the three broad categories of Welding Inspection and Technology, Non-Destructive Testing, and Practical Welding there are a host of different complex, high-end specialities to choose from enabling young people to find a career in something that suits their individual interest and temperament … and make a good living!”

All participants were given a chance to, inter alia, make a weld, see a robotic welding machine in action, see the processes involved in a host of non-destructive testing techniques and to witness some of the activities in the SAIW’s state-of-the-art Materials Testing Laboratory.

The response from the participants was, as expected, enthusiastic.

Brian Phungwayo said: “Excellent Day! Very Informative. Made me very interested to find out more about welding as a career.

Bonisile Isaac said: Wonderful, informative. Wish we had had even more time!

Ishmael Manzini: It was a perfect day. So interesting and exciting. Thank you for giving me the chance to be part of it!

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