Training partnership to boost Australian steel industry

The Welding Technology Institute of Australia aims to develop a stronger skills base for the Australian steel industry through a partnership with TAFE NSW.

Welding Technology Institute of Australia (WTIA) CEO Geoff Crittenden says the two organisations have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and he aims to get similar agreements in place with TAFEs across the nation.

WTIA will work with TAFE NSW to get a consistent standard of welding training, certified to ISO 9606, and pre-TAFE training to help school leavers understand vocational training.

In July, WTIA will launch a National Welder Qualification Register, which will name all welders who have achieved accreditation to ISO 9606-1:2012, which specifies requirements for qualification testing.

The international standard provides technical rules for a systematic qualification test for welders so their qualifications can be uniformly accepted.

Mr Crittenden said welders currently had qualifications ratified on a per-project basis which was costly and inefficient.

In association with TAFE NSW, WTIA will spearhead reinstating the trade of welder to the TAFE syllabus, instead of alternative light or heavy fabrication worker categories, and training will be conducted in line with ISO 9606.

“The new register will set the benchmark and the MoU with TAFE will see uniformity across the nation in welder qualifications,” Mr Crittenden said.

Lucy Arundell, TAFE NSW Illawarra’s Institute Director, and Mr Crittenden signed the MoU this week (May 2).

“The partnership comes at an important time for the country’s steel industry, as WTIA continues to advocate for introducing legislation ensuring all imported fabricated steel complies with Australian Welding Standards,” Mr Crittenden said.

“A strong, vibrant steel industry is critical to the future of Australian industry. Arrium’s 7,000 direct employees are just the tip of the iceberg; there are more than 14,000 Australians employed in related jobs.”

He said the MoU would ensure training was more industry focused in future.

Ms Arundell said: “WTIA will externally validate our processes and assessments to ensure TAFE NSW’s training is aligned with the needs of industry and upholds the highest possible safety standards. Together, TAFE NSW and WTIA will strive to secure the future of the Australian welding industry by producing highly skilled, qualified welding professionals.”