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National Apprenticeship Week 2021 – The Welding Institute

Last week, The Welding Institute celebrated National Apprenticeship Week through a series of online events targeted at the next generation of engineers. These webinars ranged from technical talks on Metal Inert Gas (MIG) and Metal Active Gas (MAG) welding and cracking mechanisms (including cold cracking, solidification cracking and lamellar tearing in carbon steels) to, additionally, an insightful online webinar looking at one of our own Student Associate Member’s experience as an engineering apprentice.

The first online event was titled, ‘MIG/MAG - What's it all about?’ where welding engineer, Sante Susca (EngTech TechWeldI) talked through a brief look at what can make a good weld stand out from a bad weld whilst using the MAG welding process. It also explored the issues and problems faced with using this welding method. Sante divided the talk into looking at the principles of welding and what makes a good weld, an overview of how equipment has changed over time (including the differences from 40 years ago), and continued on to explore the fundamentals of MAG welding, including different variables, wire, gas, material, equipment know-how and welding torches, before finishing by looking at the critical fundamentals to get the quality of MAG welding correct.

The second webinar was presented by Fellow of The Welding Institute, Gene Mathers (FWeldI CEng), who delivered a presentation titled, ‘A Cracking Time with Cracking Mechanisms.’ The webinar was an introductory talk giving an overview of the broad and interesting topic of cracking mechanisms. It covered cold cracking, solidification cracking and lamellar tearing in carbon steels. Gene has extensive knowledge and experience within this field, demonstrated by his over 40 years of industrial experience working in pipeline, power generation, heavy engineering, nuclear and the pressure vessel fabrication industries. He worked for NEI-International Combustion Ltd as the company’s Welding and Metallurgy Manager and latterly was a Quality Manager for 10 years before joining TWI Ltd in 1991 as Manager, School of Welding Technology. Since retirement, Gene has provided a welding engineering consultancy service as a private consultant and continues his active involvement with the Welding Institute as Chair of the Joining Processes Technical Group (find out more about our Technical Groups here).

The final webinar of The Welding Institute’s National Apprenticeship Weeks’ programme of events was hosted by Catherine Leahy (Student AWeldI) who presented a talk on, ‘My Apprenticeship Journey and Corrosion Testing at TWI.’ The presentation looked at her experience as an apprentice from leaving sixth form and undertaking an Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacture with TWI and West Suffolk College, to her current role as a TWI Corrosion Technician as she continues to undertake her Degree Apprenticeship in Applied Engineering (BEng (Hons)) with TWI and the University of Warwick. Within the presentation, Catherine discussed her personal experience as an apprentice within the engineering industry, including her experience as a woman working in STEM. She additionally offered insight and advice for anyone considering or currently undertaking an engineering apprenticeship, including tips that she wished she had known herself before undertaking this journey. She concluded by discussing her role with and vision for the Younger Members’ Committee, which she chairs, explaining how her experience as a young female apprentice and engineer has shaped her knowledge, understanding and passion for targeting the next generation of engineers and the importance this plays.

The Welding Institute would like to thank all of our amazing speakers for their time and incredible insights into the topics they each explored during National Apprenticeship Week. We hope that this served as an opportunity for anyone considering an apprenticeship and/or career within engineering to benefit from our speakers’ incredible experiences and knowledge.

The Welding Institute

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