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The future looks bright for qualified thermoplastic welders in South Africa, according to Isaya Ntuli, Plastics SA’s Regional Training Manager. With Thermoplastic welding now a preferred method of joining HDPE or PVC pipes used in mining, municipalities, construction and various other fields where plastic pipe applications are used, these welders are able to find work in many different industries and their skills are in high demand, Ntuli says.

Welding plastic“PlasticsSAtrained more than 400 welders in Gauteng alone during our last financial year, and we continue to see an increase in enrolments for our Thermoplastic Fabrication learning programme each year. Bends fabrication a welding skill that is growing in demand, because a learner that can fabricate bends can work in a workshop and in the field. We address the fabrication skills through our NQF Level 3 and NQF Level 4 offerings for Thermoplastics Fabrication,” he explains.

The training itself covers different processes, including butt welding, electrofusion, hot air, socket, solvent and geomembrane. 50% of the learning content is practical work, which requires the learners to perform the actual welds. A Matric qualification is not required, nor is a proficiency to read or write in English as assessments can be conducted verbally.

Plastics SA’s learning programmes are Merseta accredited, which requires that learning content be developed to satisfy qualification outcomes. To this end, regular interaction and meetings take place with industry role players, such as the Installation and Fabrication Plastics Pipe Association (IFPA) and fabricators.

“We also involve IFPA members in the development of our learning material, including any new offerings such as our recently introduced Welding Inspector course, to ensure that we produce learners who are in step with the latest developments and who are able to meet industry needs and expectations,” Ntuli explains.

He adds that the introduction of a welder identification system a few years ago has helped to greatly improve the industry by ensuring consistent high quality of welding and introducing transparency and accountability. A unique welder number is allocated to each welder to assist with traceability. In addition, Plastics SAhas also recently upgraded to digital certificates with QR Codes that allow quicker verification onsite through a free QR Reader app which can be downloaded on a smartphone and which already exists on an iPhone.  “This allows contractors to verify welders’ certificates onsite without having to call us, and helps to ensure a well-controlled learner management system,” Ntuli concludes.

Image credit: Copyright: yunava1 / 123RF Stock Photo

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