Branch Focus: Southern Counties

27 May 2022 1:12 PM | Anonymous

We recently interviewed The Welding Institute’s Southern Counties Branch to find out more about them and their Branch activities.


About The Welding Institute’s Southern Counties Branch

The Branch restarted, after a few years of inaction, on 28 April 2016 and currently has seven Committee Members and approximately 100 Branch Members, while its membership continues to grow (find out more about joining the Southern Counties Branch).


How does the Southern Counties Branch operate?

The Branch Committee organises and facilitates regular online meetings to keep in contact, network and deliver presentations. You can keep up-to-date with their upcoming events here.


How do you encourage Younger Members to take part in activities?

The Branch interacts with colleges and training organisations to inform them about careers in welding and engineering. Additionally, Adrian Simister EngTech TechWeldI is the Southern Counties Younger Members’ Committee Representative, working with our Younger Members’ Committee (YMC) to promote and aid the engagement of younger engineers in a supportive professional network, encouraging and assisting their professional and career development (find out more about our YMC).


What type of meetings, webinars and social events do you run?

All throughout the lockdowns, the Southern Counties Branch continued to deliver meetings and presentations online, something that they are continuing moving forward for committee meetings to enable more people to attend.

Within the past couple of years, the Southern Counties Branch has been delivering a range of technical talks online and, more recently, has been offering some in-person site visits and events with expert speakers from across industry, amassing over 950 registrations from both Members and Non-Members. Some of these include:


- The Welding Quality Standard for Industry - EUR ING Mike Baverstock MSc CEng FWeldI

- Southern Counties Branch AGM and talk - The Cutting Edge: The development of swords – Stephen Cater (Principal Project Leader TWI)

- Practical aspects of welding aluminium – Jan Lukaszewski BSc. MBA. C.Eng. FIET. CQP. FCQI (Technical Manager, ALFED)

- Rapid Welding site visit - Rapid Welding

- A presentation on the TWI Welding Qualifier Software - Andy Brightmore (TWI)

- Southern Counties Branch AGM and talks from Lincoln Electric and the AWFTE - Paul Bryant (Chair of the AWFTE) and Steve Parnell (Lincoln Electric)

- Site Visit to Ultramag Inspection (NDT) and Training facilities - Ultramag Inspection (NDT)


What are the benefits of joining the Southern Counties Branch and why do its volunteers support the running of the Branch?

The Southern Counties Branch Committee offered the following, “Welding/engineering is a fascinating subject and it’s talking to like-minded people who share the same interests that drives people to volunteer and join the Branch. We all have been helping the Branch for quite a few years with the aim of trying to get more people interested in the subject and career.”

From the Branch Chair Chris Simmonds BSc CEng MWeldI, “Having been involved with testing and inspection for over thirty years, I feel it very important that our committee Members can offer support and encouragement to all our Members and those engaged in the welding and inspection industry. We aim to encourage younger Members to join our Branch and offer those already involved, options for career progression and opportunities to gain much more knowledge and experience."

Branch Secretary EUR ING Mike Baverstock MSc CEng FWeldI, also noted, “I run my own company welding consultancy business, so I visit a lot of different companies and I see how short some of the companies are of skilled welders and, so, getting to new people in the industry is very important, this is one of my motivations.”


Where do you see your Branch in 5 years’ time?

The Branch Committee outlined that they see the Branch as, hopefully a bit bigger, but this will depend upon getting younger people involved. We are also working towards introducing a welding competition for local schools to act as an introduction to welding and engineering as a career.”


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