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Welding: Skilled workers, high wages

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Welders paid nine times higher than minimum wage but are hard to keep. New certification scheme makes it easier to find skilled workers. 



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Economics
INDUSTRY

Welders develop internal certification standard

29/11/2012
Nanchanok Wongsamuth

Rising minimum wages may drive a trend towards mechanisation, but there will always be demand for welders even if they already earn a much higher salary than the minimum, says the Asian Welding Federation (AWF). 

"Not all work can be done by machines. People are still needed for some specific welding jobs," said AWF secretary-general Ang Chee Pheng.

For instance, some chemical plants are not allowed to use machinery, while refineries do not have enough space. 

"But generally, it is a good idea to use machinery where you can. It is important to improve productivity and remove wasteful practices," he said.

Suchin Katavut, president of the Thai Welding Society, said welders in Thailand receive wages nine times higher than the minimum wage at 300 baht per day, as the job is dirty and dangerous.

There are about 1 million people working in this sector, but with 35-40% of them qualified to work abroad, this has resulted in a local shortage, said Mr Suchin.

The AWF has come up with a common welder certification scheme that gathers data about the availability of skilled workers and their past performance.

"This scheme can be used in Asian countries to fulfil orders so the demand for skilled workers can be filled even if Thais transfer to other countries, said Mr Chee Pheng.

Quality assurance is a feature in the system, and the AWF plays a role in certifying the welder and carrying out periodical audits. 

If the welder performs well on the job, their certificate can be extended. 

"The current system requires you to run a test every time you bring a welder to another company. This wastes time, especially when welders switch companies often," he noted.

Mr Chee Pheng said by next year some countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Japan will already be implementing the system, while Thailand and Indonesia will be halfway there.

Within three years, most Asian countries will have implemented it.

"If China and India are in the picture, you're talking about billions [of welders]," he said, adding that the AWF is also setting up a certified training centre that will start in Singapore and Indonesia next year.

In order to attract young people to the profession, Mr Ang said the AWF is developing a roadmap for welders to become welding engineers.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Economics, INDUSTRY, Welders develop internal certification standard, 29/11/2012, Nanchanok Wongsamuth, link)


Welding Vocabulary

welding - the job of joining pieces of metal together using electricity (arc welding) or gas (See Wikipedia)
people are still needed for some specific welding jobs

welders - workers skilled in doing the job of welding

internal - existing or happening inside a person, object, organisation, place or country ภายใน
certification - an process of meeting certain high standards and being issued with an "certificate" to prove this after an official examination การรับรองคุณภาพ
internal certification standard

welders develop internal certification standard

mechanisation - using machines instead of workers to make products in a factory

trend -
a slow and gradual change that produces a particular result ทิศทาง แนวโน้ม
a trend towards mechanisation

drive a trend towards ... - to make something slowly change to ...
drive a trend towards mechanisation

wage - an amount of money that you earn for working, usually according to how many hours or days you work each week or month ค่าจ้าง
minimum wages - the smallest amount that can legally be paid to a worker
rising minimum wages may drive a trend towards mechanisation

demand - in a market the amount of a good or service that buyers want or need
demand for welders
there will always be demand for welders

salary - a fixed amount of money that you earn each month or year from your job เงินเดือน
welders earn a much higher salary than the minimum wage

plants - factories
chemical plants

refineries  - factory where distilling or purification takes place (examples: oil refinery, sugar refinery) โรงกลั่น, โรงน้ำตาล, โรงกลั่นน้ำมัน

space -
an open area without anything in it yet ที่ว่าง,  พื้นที่ว่าง
enough space
do not have enough space

some chemical plants are not allowed to use machinery, while refineries do not have enough space

improve - to make better ทำให้ดีขึ้น
productivity - producing more with the same amount of inputs (labour, energy, etc) การผลิตสินค้า
improve productivity

remove - to take something away เอาออกจาก
practices - common ways of doing things; ways of doing commonly repeated tasks
remove wasteful practices

it is important to improve productivity and remove wasteful practices

nine times higher
welders receive wages nine times higher than the minimum wage as the job is dirty and dangerous

sector - a part of the economy ภาคเศรษฐกิจของประเทศ (public sector = government, private sector = all businesses, household sector = families and consumers, banking sector,...) (See Wikipedia)

qualified to work abroad - have the education and experience needed to get a job in a foreign country

local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
shortage - when there is not enough of something การขาดแคลน
resulted in local shortage

there are about 1 million people working in this sector, but with 35-40% of them qualified to work abroad, this has resulted in a local shortage


common - shared, used by many people; done or shared by two or more people ที่ร่วมกัน
scheme - a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people แผนการ โครงการ
data - facts or information used for making calculations or decisions ข้อมูล
availability - they exist and people can use them
performance - how well or badly something works (or whether an investment provides a reasonable return)

come up with - created

The AWF has come up with a common welder certification scheme that gathers data about the availability of skilled workers and their past performance.

transfer - move; to move someone or something from one place, vehicle, person or group to another ย้าย
Thai workers transfer to other countries

This scheme can be used in Asian countries to fulfil orders so the demand for skilled workers can be filled even if Thais transfer to other countries

assurance - a promise; a guarantee การรับประกัน, การรับรอง
quality assurance

feature - to include someone or something as an important part ทำให้เด่น
quality assurance is a feature in the system

role - the purpose or influence of someone or something in a particular situation; function or job บทบาท
plays a role in
plays a role in certifying the welder

periodical - regular, from time to time (ever week, month, year, etc)
audits -
checking on something to make sure there are no problems (example: audit the company's accounting system)
periodical audits

the AWF plays a role in certifying the welder and carrying out periodical audits. 

certificate - a piece of paper that shows that you meet standards and have passed some test or inspection
extended - when time is added to the life of something
if the welder performs well on the job, their certificate can be extended

current - of the present time ปัจจุบัน
the current system requires you to run a test every time you bring a welder to another company

switch - change เปลี่ยน
welders switch companies often

implement - turning a plan into a functioning system; when a plan is put into action, actually doing the things in a plan นำมาใช้จริง

implement the system
implement the system halfway

some countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Japan will already be implementing the system, while Thailand will be halfway there

training - to teach people how to do an activity or job การฝึกฝน
certified training centre
setting up a certified training centre

attract - to cause someone to be interested in something ดึงดูดความสนใจ
profession - a type of job requiring advanced training and education
attract young people to the profession

roadmap - guidelines; the steps that need to be taken to achieve a goal
the AWF is developing a roadmap for welders to become welding engineers

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