Harold Jansen and I were recently in Vienna for the EN/ISO 9712 International Conference for Certification and Standardisation in NDT, along with the ICNDT Working Group 1 meeting. The EN/ISO 9712 Standard specifies the qualification and certification requirements for personnel who perform industrial NDT.

Sean BlakeAt the conference, Harold presented a paper about the value of integrating aspects of the American ASNT system for Company Certification into ISO 9712 to broaden the scope of the ISO 9712 scheme. Practical training and theoretical aspects of NDT are already well covered by ISO 9712, but SNT-TC-1A brings in a work experience component that is currently missing. The American system is also strong on the integration of personnel and company certification, which the EN/ISO NDT community is looking to strengthen.

I am very pleased to report that Harold’s paper was broadly welcomed. We find ourselves on the same page as our international colleagues, which is very encouraging for the direction we have chosen to take in South Africa. It shows that we are on the right track and that our thinking is well aligned to that of the international community.

From a welder training perspective, we remain excited by the ongoing progress being made towards implementing the new QCTO curriculum. This new welder-training curriculum has quality as its primary focus, which is most pleasing.

SAIW, mostly through Etienne Nell, is proud to have played such a major part of this initiative. Our primary role as an association is to implement and raise standards in the welding industry and quality training is integral to this goal.

It will be a long road, however. The current implementation stage will take place over five years on a trial basis. Key TVET colleges will be chosen for the implementation of the course and independent bodies will be brought online to deliver the trade test. At the end of the day, the objective is that we have skilled welders capable of producing good quality welds coming out of our training institutions: welders as good as those from anywhere else in the world.

Also, since the QCTO curriculum is largely based on the IIW International Welder curriculum, which we already offer through the SAIW Authorised Training Bodies (ATBs), SAIW will be able to offer an easy transition from a QCTO-qualification to the internationally recognised IIW-Welder qualification.

While South African industry is still struggling, SAIW is seeking and finding new avenues to keep us busy, with enquiries coming in from many African countries. Training remains robust, with many more private individuals still expressing faith in welding as a career that offers a good progression path for a person with skills. Welders, welding inspectors and NDT technicians are required in so many industries, so while the petrochemical and power industries are struggling right now, we see resilience in other industries such as the food & beverage and transportation industries, for example. Maintenance work is becoming more important and will never stop, so it continues to draw on welding technologies and skills.

Thanks to all of those who joined us for the Gauteng Golf Day last month. It was a good day out for industry and we are very grateful for the support of both sponsors and participants.

We are also now planning the Annual Dinner. Save the date: Friday October 20. We have scheduled an international acclaimed act, the Supreme 3: Loyiso Bala, Danny K and Tebogo Louw, who are promising a high-energy experience.

Sean Blake

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