Ever considered a career in welding?

The welding industry is healthy and the global projections for 2012 and beyond are optimistic. According to a recent survey conducted in America by the American Welding Society, respondents overwhelmingly felt that welding is “here to stay” and 70% of the respondents predicted substantial growth for the industry. Therefore, welding is a safe career choice to make.

There are many career opportunities in welding and it tends to become a way of life, rather than a career. Companies manufacturing welding equipment and consumables offer careers in production, engineering, sales and research and development, but there are even more opportunities in industries which use welding as a manufacturing process.

With welding qualifications, trainees can become welders, sculptors, welding inspectors, pressure vessel inspectors, quality specialists, welding engineers and technologists, welding supervisors, technical sales representatives, lecturers and instructors. According to Mendez and Eagar, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, welding in the aeronautics industry is showing exciting developments. Welding processes used in aeronautics have far surpassed expectations to now being the main joining process in a new commercial jet. Laser welding is now a reality and is used on the Airbus A318 and 380.

There is no substitute for a good founding education on which to build a career and welding is no different in this respect. Welding training and qualification systems build on secondary and tertiary education qualifications. The welding industry is remarkable in that it affords career opportunities to persons with a grade 10 school leaving certificate as well as those that may have a PhD from a university.

When embarking on a career in welding, it is helpful to have some experience in the area which is of interest. For example, if a career in quality control of welding activities is of interest, prior experience in metal working activities is greatly beneficial.

As a qualified welder, entrepreneurial opportunities are also opened. Owning a business providing a welding service can be extremely profitable. Such a service can operate from a fixed location, on a mobile basis, or both. An entrepreneurial welding fabrication business does not just have to include welding as the service or product.

The products range from sophisticated equipment such as pressure vessels and boilers to simple welded products such as fencing and gates, steel furniture and a myriad of other products. Welding businesses can generally be classified into 6 main areas; fabricators, manufacturers, construction, repair and maintenance, art and sculpting and home industries.


The Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) provides a wide variety of welding related courses at all skills levels. Untrained, inexperienced trainees, with no previous level of education, but with the appropriate health, physical and mental capabilities, may enter these programmes. Such courses include; the international welder, the IIW practitioner and specialist courses, as well as a wide variety of inspector courses. After three years of comprehensive SAIW training programmes in welding related inspection technologies, trainees can be awarded a diploma. This diploma is aimed at individuals intending to start a career as an inspection specialist or a technology manager.

In a document “Vision for welding” (author unknown) the predictions for the welding industry are that welding will be better integrated into the production cycle, eliminating the occasional impression that it is a barrier to a smooth manufacturing process on the factory floor. Training of welders and welding technologists will be more comprehensive and scientific, the welders’ working environment will become more attractive and the residue of the image of welding as the weakest link in fabrication will be eliminated. New materials development will increasingly incorporate weldability.

“SAIW agrees with these predictions and considers it a privilege to equip people of any age for such a secure career,” says Jim Guild, executive director of SAIW. “Engineers in the welding field, for instance, have been equipped for a variety of disciplines, but seldom in welding. Additional training is the only way of bridging this gap, especially at inspectors’ level.”

For more information visit the SAIW

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