Air Products South Africa is once again proud to be a sponsor of the South African Institute of Welding’s (SAIW) Young Welder of the Year competition which was held in January.

The competition, runs on a bi-annual basis, which aims to help young welders, 22 years of age and younger, to develop their skills and discover the extensive career path opportunities available through welding. It identifies the three most proficient welders in South Africa in three metal categories: carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminium, using four welding processes, shield metal arc welding (SMAW), gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), gas metal arc welding (GMAW) and flux cored arc welding (FCAW).

Air Products has been the main sponsor of the Young Welder of the Year competition since its inception in 2004.

Josua le Roux, General Manager: Central Services at Air Products, explains, “Apart from donating high quality cylinder welding gases, Air Products contributes towards the cash prizes, and we also offer our expertise to the skills programme.“

“A large part of our corporate social investment is focused on education and training, which we see as pivotal to South Africa’s future success and wellbeing. The Young Welder of the Year competition is very much in line with this philosophy and our commitment to the development of young South Africans,” he adds.

The South African Institute of Welding (SAIW) focuses on furthering standards in welding fabrication and related technologies by offering a variety of training courses. A SAIW qualification is regarded as the industry standard in South Africa, and also enjoys international recognition.

“The institute is at the core of welding in South Africa, and is making a big difference to welding locally, and this competition promotes welding as a career for young South Africans,” says Dustin Mulder, Market Research and Strategy Manager at Air Products. “The Young Welder of the Year is one way in which Air Products can contribute to promoting excellence, and we are proud to be associated with the SAIW.”

Air Products, which has long been associated with the SAIW, supplies a variety of standard welding gases to industry, such as argon, carbon dioxide and oxygen, also has extensive experience in producing highly specialised two-part and three-part gas mixtures for every welding application.

“The Young Welder of the Year competition has a very positive impact on the local welding industry. It is instrumental in creating awareness through communication with various Further Education and Training (FET) colleges and the many schools offering welding courses,” comments Mulder

“The Young Welder of the Year is something that we, at Air Products, are proud to be involved with, on all levels. The competition is not only going a long way to addressing the skills shortage in this country, but it is going further by promoting excellence according to international standards,” concludes le Roux.