There is a huge shortage of qualified welding technicians across industries, not just in India but world over. Ánd the certified ones go in search of greener pasture, leaving the requirement for such skilled workers in India in the lurch,' said Somenath Ghosh, Chairman, IT Sub-Committee, Indian Institute of Welding, Kolkata.
Speaking on the sidelines of a programme to announce the inauguration of Gedee-WIM Institute of Welding Technology, he said that the requirement for certified welders is around 5000 a month. Áround 2000 qualify by taking up some programme in one of the welding institutes in the country (every month) but very few remain in the country, as jobs abroad seem more lucrative.'
The Institute is in the process of standardising the entire screening process to national standard, he said and pointed out that IIW conducts tests every day. 'We conducted one at Baroda and Rajasthan today; around 60 had enrolled for the exam.'
To a query on package, he said 'a certified technician can expect a minimum of Rs 20,000 a month at start. Experienced ones command not less than Rs 35,000- 40,000 a month. And for doing a short term course in welding technology, one just needs to have completed class VIII,' he added.
To fill this skill gap, Gedee Technical Training Institute (GTTI) has taken up this initiative of starting a welding institute in Coimbatore in collaboration with Welding Industries Malaysia (WIM), Sdn.Bhd, which, according to GTTI Director G D Rajkumar is the first of its kind in South India.
'Thanks to the technical support and investment made by WIM, this Gedee WIM Institute of Welding Technology has been approved by IIW as one of their Authorised Training Institute,' he said.
WIM has invested about Rs one cr on equipments and marketing and is also keen to place certified technicians.
Cine Artist M Nasser incidentally, has enrolled as the first student of this institute.
Stating that welding has since turned out to be his hobby, Nasser told Business Line that he has been trying to practise welding as an art. Í collect broken plastic, stones, wooden pieces etc from the garbage and make some unique show piece. The intention basically is to clean up the environment and create wealth from waste. This crash programme is expected to help me do this art in a more structured way.'
According to Mr Rajkumar, 50 students can be trained at a time for different courses. The duration of the course could vary from one week, eight weeks to a year or even more. The Institute would impart training in industry oriented welding programmes such as structural welding, art welding, for the automobile industry, shipping, profile cutting and so on. 'We are also contemplating robot welding,' he said.
Jim Kerins, Regional General Manager, Asia Pacific, The Welding Institute (UK) said that the Government of Malaysia stresses the need for grooming skilled workers. Ín Malaysia alone, the industry requirement for welding technicians is around 3000 a month. There are more women welding technicians in Phillippines and Iran. Women can excel in welding as it is an art,' he added.