CEBU CITY, Philippines - The local and international demand for highly skilled welders has prompted private and public institutions to offer welding courses to interested individuals and companies.
Girlie Morano, assistant administrative officer of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Region 7, said they continue to have trainees for welding at Tesda training center under Training for Work Scholarships project.
Morano said the center has 25 trainees in partnership with Aboitiz Construction Group-Metaphil Division (Metaphil).
The training lasts for two months and teaches shield metal arch welding (SMAW), the basic welding course.
The center was able to produce 125 SMAW graduates last year, 50 of whom were able to earn jobs in Australia.
On the other hand, the University of Cebu (UC) has tied up with Norwegian company, Unitor to establish a welding school.
UC president Augusto Go said the partnership enabled the university to be the recipient of free equipment from a group of Norwegian shipowners.
Go said UC has invested P20 million in additional equipment and machineries for the school.
?(We established the school) to take advantage of the high demand for welders in Australia and Canada,? he told Cebu Daily News.
Aside from international opportunities for welders, Go said graduates of welding courses can also get jobs from Cebu-based companies such as Metaphil and Tsuneishi Heavy Industries in Balamban town, northern Cebu.
Lawyer Baldomero Estenzo, welding school manager, said the demand for welders will continue as ?welding is a support industry for shipping.?
The school will officially start classes on the second week of March 2008 and can accommodate a total of 14 students at a time since there are 14 welding machines available, he said.
Fees range from P2, 500 for one-day course to P28,000 for a two-week course.
Engineer Celso Hayag, training director, said students admitted to the school should have basic welding skills since the school will be teaching advanced welding courses.
He said the welding school has five instructors capable of teaching advanced welding courses and have underwent series of trainings with Unitor personnel.
Go said more job opportunities will be made available to skilled welders in the Visayas and Mindanao as Korean company, Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Corporation builds a $2 billion shipyard complex in Mindanao.
Edward Dampor Sr., general manager of Brilliant Metal Craft and Machine Design (BMC), said his institution is also preparing students to be more equipped as countries including Denmark, New Zealand, Japan and Middle East need more welders.
Dampor, a recipient of Galing Pinoy Award of Tesda 7, said there is close to a million job opportunities for welders worldwide.
In the Philippines, he said, around 300,000 welders are in demand with Subic in Pampanga needing most of the welders.
Dampor said a 45-day SMAW course costs P30,000 while a three-month advanced welding course costs P63,000.