Expert are calling on women to join welding industry

Government has been called upon to enforce a deliberate plan to have girls and women enroll for industrial welding and fabrication courses in order to enable them compete favorably with their male counterparts.The call was made by Ronald Ssezibwa, the Managing Director SEB Engineering Services Limited and chief trainer at SEB Institute of Welding and Technology (SIWET). He was speaking to Daily Monitor at the closing ceremony of a four-week training course of welders, held at the company's offices in Wakiso town."The manufacturing industry is still virgin and women should be highly encouraged to take up

the various training and education opportunities in welding and fabrication. This is my dream and I pray that government looks deep into it," he said.Out of the 12 trainees, only one was female. Mildred Namayanja, a Senior Two student, completed the course and she believes that this has provided her with a good start in her pursuit of the dream to become an engineer."There is nothing that men can do that women can't do. It is just a mindset that we need to change. I am now able to interprete drawings and weld according to their specifications, which is not the case with many ordinary welders," she boasted.

Isaac Ssebunya Kaluusimann is a perfect example. He is a welder and owns two workshops in Mukono. When the opportunity for training came up, he embraced it and admits that in the four weeks of training, he has mastered a lot."Truthfully, this training has opened my eyes to the latest technology in welding. For instance, I didn't know a lot about welding in accordance with drawings. But now I can weld everything if provided with a drawing," he said.

Ssebunya's dream is to now keep upgrading until he achieves global certification. Ssezibwa argues that government should come up with a tailored curriculum that encourages female students to highly appreciate vocational training."There are very many opportunities in the manufacturing industry and we need welders. In other countries, women have taken over positions in the welding and fabrication sector and are reaping high. The same should be encouraged here," added Ssezibwa. 

The challenges

Welding training is an expensive venture, and government support has not been consistent. That is when partners like Handwerkskammer zu Köln (HWK) come into the picture to extend sponsorship for the trainees. "We are extending opportunities to these welders to improve on their craft. This training will help them to double their awareness on quality, safety, entrepreneurship and job creation. We shall keep opening up opportunities for others," said Connie Zupp, the HWK technical advisor. 

Zupp pointed at the growing concerns over lack of human highly qualified human resource in the metal sector.“All these new bridges buildings, roads and agro-based factories are looking for a well-trained, skilled and qualified manpower, so these trainings should be happening in every vocational institute. Skills must be directly proportionate to the demands of the manufacturing industry,” she added.