In the year of 70th anniversary, current SAIW president, Morris Maroga, takes a look at how far the Institute has progressed since 1948.
Looking back and thinking about our organisation, the Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW), I was struck by the fact that, amongst all the things that happened in the year 1948, it was the year that the SAIW was founded and the year the Nationalist Apartheid government first came to power.
What a momentous year 1948 was in the history of our country! South Africans were led down a path of hatred and divisiveness by a government that was to become reviled the world over. Its policy of discrimination and deprivation caused untold harm, which will take generations to fully recover from.
Yet, even from those dark times, organisations arose that have become key to the empowerment of millions of South Africans – regardless of race, colour or creed – through education and skills training. One such organisation was the SAIW, which has become the leading welding training company in Africa having over the years trained thousands of people from all over the continent, with most having been able to get a job either in their home country or abroad. This is a magnificent achievement of which I am extremely proud. It is obviously true that, like all South African educational – and other – institutions, the SAIW needed to become a relevant post-apartheid organisation through the requisite transformation.
In this regard, while I acknowledge there is still work to be done, I am pleased to be able to report that our management, teaching staff and students today represent the full gamut of South African society and are all dedicated to making a difference in South Africa by providing both our youth and the more experienced personnel in our industry an opportunity to get ahead in life. One of the most pleasing factors of the SAIW 70 years on is how our influence and involvement on our continent has grown beyond recognition. A good example of this is an initiative where, together with the Nigerian Institute of Welding, the SAIW is building The Welding Federation of Africa (TWFA) to ensure the standards of welding are at globally accepted levels throughout the African continent.
Regarding Africa and beyond, the SAIW recently became part of a powerful international welding alliance – The International Alliance for Skills Development Belt and Road including BRICS – which aims at incorporating all the countries in this region in a cooperative initiative to provide welding training to the youth. Some of the countries that will be working closely together in the alliance are: South Africa, China, Russia, India, Ukraine, Singapore, Philippines, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria and others.
From a global perspective the SAIW was, from its inception, part of the inter- national welding fraternity, having been a founder member of the International Institute of Welding (IIW) in 1948. Our relationship with the world’s most important welding body has never faltered and in 2003 we became an Authorised National Body (ANB) of the IIW offering the full range of IIW qualifications – Engineer, Technologist, Specialist, Practitioner, Welder and Inspector.
Of course, accreditation is paramount to our ability to provide our graduates with the best possible education and, apart from IIW recognition, we are also accredited by the Quality
Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) as per the South African National Artisan Welder programme that has recently been introduced. We believe that we are the first organisation to be accredited to this programme and the SAIW will continue to gain accreditations to QCTO qualifications and programmes as they become available. The South African National Artisan Welder programme has been developed such that it is aligned to our IIW International Welder programme to ensure compatibility and recognition with this internationally recognised training programme for the development of South African citizens. Read more...