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Opinions of Monday, 17 August 2020

Columnist: Ing. Daniel S Kwarkyi (PE-GhIE)

Welding - A catalyst for massive employment opportunities

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As a certified welding Inspector and Educator and a subject matter expert on Welding Education, Standards and Compliance, I find it a duty to make this information about the Welding Industry known to assist in shaping a comprehensive Welding Industry Action Plan for effective administration of the industry in Ghana. Policy on Ghana’s Industrialization and Standardization program, which includes the Welding Industry, must be captured in the annual Industry Policy Action Plan (IPAP) presented by the Minister for Trade and Industry to government and the business community.


The Welding Industry can be defined as the use of science, technology and the application of welding and allied joining and cutting processes including brazing and soldering, thermal spraying and quality in welding workmanship for joining materials.

Within the oil and gas, mining, manufacturing, fabrication and the general construction industry - welding is done according to standards, codes, specifications and recommended practices and various processes are employed in the welding industry including Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding, Gas Tungsten Arc Welding and Flux Cored Arc Welding – the most commonly employed processes in construction and fabrication

The oil and gas, fabrication and the general construction industries depend on skilled personnel to employ these processes in the fabrication and installation of their production facilities in conformance to international standards.

The mining industry requires skilled industry personnel for the fabrication, installation, repair and maintenance of mining assets.

The Power and Gas plants – the thermal power plant, gas processing plants, oil refineries, gas pipelines and re-gasification plants construction depend heavily on trained, qualified and certified welding industry personnel for their operations.

Such personnel include: Welder, Materials Engineer, Welding Engineer, Robotics Technician, Welding Technician, Business Owner, Salesperson, Structural Iron Worker, Sheet Metal Worker, Under Water Welder, Welding Educator, Metallurgist, Researcher, Welding Inspector, Machine Operators, Pipe Fitters, Boilermakers and many more.


CLIENTS –owners of such production facilities – make decisions about which contractor must execute their projects. They are assisted by industry bodies that have established procedures for executing such projects –the American Welding Society (AWS), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) have established requirements for construction of structural works, pressure vessels and piping and cross- country pipeline. The EEMUA (Engineering Equipment Manufacturers and Users Association) has requirements for the construction of off –shore production facilities – FPSO, suction pile, Christmas trees, etc.

NATIONAL ACCREDITATION BODIES (NABs) set standards for the assessment and accreditation of Certification Bodies. For example the UKAS is the sole body recognized by the UK Government for the assessment and verification against international standards of certification, inspection, testing and calibration activities in both private and public sectors. Clients such as Tullow, Modec, ENI and all the major IOCs (International Oil Companies)

have a choice to select competent contractors to execute their jobs and they always choose certifying bodies, testing and calibration bodies accredited by such international accreditation bodies such as UKAS, SANAS (South Africa National Accreditation System), etc.


The Welder and Welding Operator must pass a welder performance qualification to AWS, ASME or BSEN standards in the 6GR, 6G, 5G, 2G, 3G and 4G positions using SMAW, GMAW, FCAW or GTAW processes or a combination of these processes. Additional demands are for materials qualified: carbon steels, low alloy/high alloy carbon steels, stainless steels, copper- nickel, aluminum, titanium, incoloy, inconel etc.


Personnel trained, qualified and certified as a Welding Inspector, Engineer, Coordinator, Technician or Supervisor with expert knowledge in the Welding Processes, Metallurgy, Codes, Standards, Specifications, Procedures, Welder Qualifications, destructive and non- destructive testing are required to offer inspection services before, during and after welding ensuring project is executed according to agreed procedures.


Accredited Certification Bodies for the certifying of companies and individuals to international standards include: IIW, AWS, TWI, DNV, ABS, LB and SAIW, ASME, API, BSEN, etc. Such certifications include:
AWS – (American Welding Society) Certified Welding Inspector,
Certified Welding Engineer; Certified Welding Supervisor; Certified Robotic Arc Welder Certified Welder; Certified Radiographic Interpreter
BSEN : British Standards (European Norm)
CSWIP: Certification Scheme for Welding Inspection Personnel British Gas Pipeline Inspection,
IIW: International Institute of Welding
Welding Technologist, Welding Specialist, Welding Coordinator ASNT, ACCP, PCN, Certification for NDT personnel etc.


Business and employment opportunities exist in the welding industry for Main contractors, Sub- Contractors, Suppliers, Service Providers, Third Party Inspectors, Certification Companies, Testing and Calibration Companies.

Main Contractors in the fabrication and construction industry include: SAIWEST, ORSAM, BELMET 7, GROUP FIVE International, SRIEMAS, Harlequin, Wayoe Engineering, Seaweld Engineering, Amandi, Afcons Construction, etc.

Sub-contractors include: Ranceb Engineering, RW Engineering, Run-on-Time, STEVAL, Harmotech Engineering, Jestan Engineering etc.

Suppliers include: Gas and consumables suppliers, steel, welding and cutting equipment suppliers, fuels and lubricants suppliers, labor suppliers etc.

Third Party Inspectors include: DNV, ABS, LB, BV, Engineers & Inspectors, and Applus Velosi. Testing and Calibration Companies include:

DANEST Mechanical/Metallurgical Testing Laboratory (ISO 17025 Accredited Site Laboratory of MTLabs of South Africa), Apave Inspection etc.

All of the above Companies must be assessed and audited to ensure they are compliant to international standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 18001 and client’s specification before placement on the clients’ vendor list. Welding Industry personnel are employed by such companies to assist in ensuring their projects are compliant to the client’s requirements.


Welder training, qualification and certification are achieved through the development of modules for the establishment of:

a) Training institutions including the Universities, Polytechnics, Technical and Vocational Schools etc.

b) Training Centers including DANEST Welder Training & Testing Centre in Takoradi, NVTI, GRATIS Foundation, OIC etc.

c) On the job training (OJT)

(A well-structured OJT system is yet to be embraced in Ghana. South Africa has one of the best OJT systems in Africa).

The purpose of Welding Education and Training is to ensure qualified personnel required for employment in industry are readily available in-country. Training Institutions build up on STEM subjects to shape the Knowledge, Attitude, Skills and Habits of their students who graduate with qualifications necessary for employment in industry. This is achieved by offering both skills and technical training in Welding Technology, Blueprint Reading, Visual Inspection, Non-Destructive Testing, Destructing Testing and Metallurgy in addition to their core programs.

A University degree is NOT a necessary requirement for obtaining certification in the welding industry. Training institutions MUST offer such education and training in facilities that are accredited by a National Accreditation Body and compliant to the applicable international standards.

For example : for an institution to offer training and testing to the American Welding Society’s code, the facility must meet the requirements of the AWS Accredited Testing Facility (ATF) program which include the following:

1. Implementation of a quality assurance program that meets the requirements of the AWS QC4-89 Standard for the Accreditation of Testing Facilities.

2. Facility Manager – the duly designated individual authorized by the ATF to make legally binding commitments and statements on behalf of the ATF.

3. Quality Manager- Shall be responsible for maintaining the quality management system and documentation on a regular basis for the ATF.

4. Facility Representative – Duly responsible for the direction and implementation of all the requirements defined in the certification specification for the ATF.

5. Qualifier – Shall conduct the Welder Performance Test in a professional manner and be responsible for the final in-process inspection before, during and after the weld testing process. The qualifier can be an employee of the ATF or contractor.

The facility Representative may also be a Qualifier or Facility Manager who is a current CWI or SCWI.


A clear distinction between Welding operation in industry and Welding education and training must be established even though there is a connection.

A POWER PLANT construction contractor may employ over two hundred (200) welders and fifty (50) Welding management personnel for two years or more for a single project.

A SHIPYARD AND DRY DOCK facility may employ over 200 hundred welders and fifty welding industry support personnel on a permanent basis.

MINING COMPANIES all together may employ over 1,000 welders and 400 hundred welding industry support personnel for the fabrication, erection, maintenance and repair of their mining equipment.

OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY construction contractors and service providers may employ over 1,000 welders and 500 welding industry support personnel for their projects.


scattered throughout the country may employ more than 1,000 welders and 400 welding industry support personnel. These infrastructural projects include: Railway expansion, 1D1F, Tank Farms, Agricultural Engineering Projects and a lot more.

INSPECTION AND TESTING LABORATORIES may employ over 500 technicians to offer services in support of ALL contractors working on infrastructural projects.

ALL Companies, contractors, suppliers or service providers, must be assessed and audited against international quality standards such as ISO 9001.

Compliance of such entities to quality standards would demand that ONLY qualified industry personnel are employed to work on their projects including: Welders, welding operators, welding technicians, Nondestructive testing technicians, Coating inspectors, Post Weld Heat Treatment (PWHT) technicians, Destructive Testing Competent Technicians, Welding Engineers, Welding Coordinators and many more.

Welding Industry management would ensure only qualified personnel are employed even if this means foreign qualified personnel must be employed. Their mandate is to execute their project in a safe, environmentally compliant delivery and of the best quality ensuring value for money.


A Government of Ghana MINISTRY responsible for ensuring that WELDING INDUSTRY business is carried out according to international standards must be identified. This ministry will be responsible for the setting up of a National Industry Accreditation Board (NIAB), comprising experts trained, qualified and certified to the relevant industry standards, with not less than 5 years’ experience in Quality Control and Quality Assurance in the relevant industry.

The NIAB will be responsible for identifying, assessing and accrediting industry certification bodies that will offer services to the client in: inspection, industry and personnel certification, testing and calibration laboratories, against international standards.

ONLY NIAB accredited certification bodies will be responsible for ensuring conformance to applicable national/international standards. ALL industry operators – oil and gas, mining, agriculture, manufacturing, regulatory authorities, construction industry, education and training – must operate within the standards approved by the NIAB.