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“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn” - Albert Einstein

MTC-4-20151974 First taste of welding at college – Liked it but didn’t love it.

1975 started an indentured apprenticeship and an ongoing education for 7 years at day release learning about the theory and practice of welding technology

1979 Worked for the MoD alongside other notable organisations including AWE, Vickers and Rolls Royce.

1985 Joined The Welding Institute as a senior welding instructor and evolved TWI’s practical welder training and welding qualification testing facility.

1986 Set up practical welding courses in Practical Control of Welding and Practical Quality Welding as a Course Tutor.

1987 Set up with JP McCormick a Visual Inspection of Welds course D73 and moved into lecturing including Post Graduate Welding course ran for final time with 4 candidates.

1988 Set up 2nd generation welding inspector L2 and went from 4 to 40 attendees overnight.

1989 Set up Diploma in Welding Technology and spent 13 years delivery and improving and qualifying to EWF/IIW. (30 on course)

1990 Set up 2nd generation Senior Welding Inspector L3

1991 Delivered 1st Welding Inspector course in Oman & set up TWI Diploma in Welding Engineering to global interest

1992 Presented 1st UAE course in welding inspection

1993 Presented 1st Malaysia course for welding inspectors at an exotic island

1994 Programme manager now & successfully sat the Cranfield University welding engineering course.
Implemented Visual Welding Inspector 3.0

1995 Modularised the 3 EWF Welding coordinator’s courses into 1 course at 3 levels. Helped a major Fabricator achieve EN729 Certification (Now EN ISO 3834)

1996 Set up IIW examination working group and evolved 3x4 papers for each level (and got married too...)

1997 Set up bridging exams for UK to USA and USA to UK welding inspector qualifications

1998 Set up BGAS welding inspector courses and Asia. A 20,000 thesis takes some time to construct.

1999 Achieved Chartered status which also provided Eur Ing EWE, EWIE and IWE after a long haul due to ongoing TWI international expansion and new work projects in the USA

2000 Designed BGAS welding Inspector for CSWIP welding inspector transitional candidates.

2001 Setting up of original Plant Inspector programme

2002  - Now a 70 hour a week job and new baby so left TWI (The Welding Institute) and set up Weld-Class-Solutions as a specialist welding technology training and consultancy company.

2003 Gained course approval for PCN Welding Inspector for Level 1 and 2 with the SWSNDT.
Also delivered the first specific Introduction to Welding Coordination course for EN 719/729 (Now EN ISO 14731 ISO3834)
Delivered some 40+ courses since
Embarked on a long term visual inspection of welds programme for a major UK shipbuilding company with 4 courses per annum for whole production workforce

2004 Set up practical welding course for the IIW Welding Specialist Diploma for a major luxury motor manufacturer.

2005 Gained IIW recognition for the 6 week Welding Specialist Diploma by authoring 6 modules of welding technology course materials, preparing each module with a learning infrastructure which minimises slide presentations.

2006 Set up a welder competence programme for a major UK Fabricator which ran for 5 years training over 100 welders.
Also ran a 1st BGAS Senior Welding Inspector’s course for 4 people

2007 Set up welding qualification testing facility and qualified welders to EN287 Pt 1.

2008 Designed and delivered a “Welding Auditor’s course” for L2 welding inspectors as part of EN ISO 3834 internal welding audits. Major success and offered to PCN same year.

2009 In Qatar and also set up welding design programme for aircraft carrier design engineers Set up 2nd generation Senior Welding Inspector L3

2010 Set up WCS Ltd’s successful IIW/ EWF Diploma Welding Specialist Diploma course which resulted in a first time 100% pass rate with a comment by the independent IIW Examiner of “best results we have seen”

2011 Delivered an offshore welding course in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Invited to investigate an “aluminium weld failure” in the capacity as the Expert Witness. -Establish specific cause and subsequent closure since accident 8 years earlier.
Also established and implemented a welding competence training programme for 30 maintenance engineers
Finished the last modules of the WCS Ltd IIW Diploma and then the next week delivered a welding design course in Sweden as a first.

2012 Delivered a Welding Technology course for the Oil and Gas industry in Aberdeen which runs routinely to this day.
Also was involved a consultancy job in Monel where porosity was an issue. Problem solved within 2 days after weeks of head scratching.
Acted as a client’s Responsible Welding Coordinator (RWC) to oversee a major repair of a steel frame iconic building in London. Tough job but successfully completed due to practical know how.

2013 Ran a specialist course for a hip replacement company dealing with micro welding using TIG and EB.
Completed a number of consultancy jobs related to welding documentation reviews to ASME IX and EN ISO 15614 for major Oil and Gas project.
Delivered various PCN Welding Inspector courses for Oil and Gas, Marine, Power and multimillion £ steel frame building project in London + all the open courses now on offer.

2014 Started on an oil storage tank repair.
Also ran “Introduction to welding aluminium” courses for major UK company involved in access kit for 50+ people as 12 attendees per course.
Designed and delivered RWC courses for various companies having to satisfy EN1090 as well as design other competence based training modules in welding coordination.

2015 Started with a multimillion £ aluminium project which wasn’t going well. Successfully identified problems and solutions within 2 working days.
Working with a major international company on RWC training initiatives based around proficiency and competence

Over 20 years have elapsed since joining the Membership, Education and Registration Committee and being a Professional Advisor, mentor and motivator to many CEng/IEng.

2016 I spent a great deal of this year looking at improving my own and others “Continuing Professional Development” which included work for the Engineering Council as an Assessor for Chartered and Incorporated Engineers and as a Professional Advisor for candidates looking to achieve their own goals in this area. This is very rewarding work in my view, as I get to learn more about what is happening in the real world which is very important to me and my delivery of training and consultancy, even though it is all voluntary work.

I also started a new working relationship with a UK Government Agency looking at how welding procedures and welders should be trained and qualified compared to current trends. Again, this is both interesting and rewarding work in helping Inspection companies learn on how to improve so as to do things better and with competence.

Weld-Class-Solutions is also running more and more welding coordinator courses as one of the few Chartered and Certified Welding Engineers who have been in training for 30 years. I am also looking at the different competence of welding coordinators too. Welding Coordination isn’t just a Welding Quality Management System (WQMS) as behind the WQMS is real engineering that relates to many engineering disciplines where the correct education is critical. EN ISO 3834 will become increasingly more important in the future for companies to show their welding prowess.

Training practicing Welding Engineers has also been a very positive and interesting time and I have helped many in the past but this year has seen several folk who have not been successful with their IWE welding exams.

Also, in 2016 and in 2017 Weld-Class-Solutions Ltd is now becoming involved with the automotive industry with welding quality requirements and with shipbuilding and repair work too where the standards are similar to other industry sectors…….There is still a great deal to do of course!!

2017- Key achievements

Execution of correct techniques for repair welding:

Probably the best challenge was moving into a completely new division of an industry sector which involved the training of personnel in surveillance welding inspection. The organisation I was/am involved with had a very competent training manager and we spent a year taking a pilot course to a revision 3 course by incorporating many new aspects. This was both from a continuous improvement culture that Weld-Class-Solutions Ltd operate, but mainly from the feedback of real positive comments of course members on suggested changes and modifications. The course now enters revision 6 with even more improvements

Welding qualification testing:

Also, Weld-Class Solutions Ltd also worked on competence in welding procedure and welder qualification testing and in providing constructive feedback to inspection organisations on improvements to their Management Systems, procedures and to the competence of personnel who are required to supervise the inspection and test function of qualification testing to various standards including EN ISO and ASME standards. The EN ISO standards also underwent change with a number of revisions too, which meant that further work to include this within the scope of work on such changes had to be fully understood

This area of the qualification of welding procedures and welder qualifications is so under estimated even by welding engineers. This critical preparation, welding and testing regime is an insurance policy and again can minimise risks to a particular project or to a fabrication company overall.

Surprisingly such tests are often carried out by organisations who do not hold UKAS ISO17020 Accreditation which means Fabricators may not have satisfied the exacting qualification standards and the impartiality requirements, with a consequence of risk to firstly production and consequential high repair rates, but also welders not following welding procedure requirements and the consequence of higher risks to the product’s integrity where it can lead to contractual disputes or product failure in service.

Pressure Equipment Directive

Weld-Class Solutions Ltd were also involved in a litigation project based on a product under PED requirement and as such Weld-Class therefore immersed itself in this for around 8 months The Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) is also very much in need of similar qualifications to the same standards but perhaps due to the risk and consequence of failure, there is a need for a higher-level application of the standards compared to other industry sectors, due to the more critical nature of pressure equipment in general.

Engineering Council Assessor and Mentor

The development of personnel becomes a more significant aspect as each year passes so on a personal level I also continued my volunteer work with the Welding Institute as an Engineering Council Approved Assessor by conducting Professional Review Interviews for Chartered and Incorporated Engineer status of applicants. Much of this assessment process has already been carried out via the candidates submitting technical reports which are rigorously assessed. Other candidates opt to providing evidence of achievement in their careers by what is termed the experiential route. This is all assessed and overseen by a Committee of industry experts so the process is both hard work but very rewarding. I also produced some self help guides for candidates who embark on this process. Mentoring has been a huge part of my aims for some 25 years perhaps due to working in a training environment for many years and seeing people grow from small acorns into huge oak trees.

Mentor a candidate on this type of work is time consuming and I calculated that the volunteer activity is some 50 to 60 hurs of effort which as it is not fee paying, is many, many hours of effort.

EN ISO 3834 and EN ISO 14731 requirements under the Construction Products regulations.

A great deal of my time in the year was spent with working with EN ISO 3834 and EN ISO 14731 standards which come on the back on the Construction Products Regulations and EN 1090 Execution of steel and aluminium structures. My first exposure to the EN ISO 3834 for welding quality management and EN ISO 14731 standards for welding coordination was way back in the early 1990’s when the standard was then EN729 and EN719 respectively and were evolving at a slow pace.

Both standards are linked and are about welding quality management systems and the tasks and responsibilities of welding coordination personnel. By providing meaningful inputs to both aspects of the standards can see Fabrication companies become more efficient and competitive. Both standards are however not well understood or indeed implemented.

Many see this is a mere tick box exercise which adds little value but if understood it can be an excellent tool in ensuring that the product that was ordered – either as an off the shelf or as a specific client contract meets the specific agreed characteristics of the design and build. This process, which has been both verified and validated during the production process is complex and only welding personnel with a proven track record fully understand this concept. There are some clear shortfalls in the current implementation with regard to value added, as many Fabricators only see a cost rather than a benefit. However, perhaps the key benefit is repeat orders from satisfied customers and what is also regarding “risk management” of the product.

Expert Witness

One real highlight for me in 2017 was being involved in an expert witness case which ran for several months of what is known as the initial “discovery and evaluation” phase.

This phase involves exactly that, where the team (who included a very well industry respected Investigation Lead Expert) worked on a complex product build. We worked well as a team in establishing many technical facts regarding the condition of a product and its shortfalls in manufacture. This work is incredibly challenging and basically, you are immersed in it for the duration literally 24/7. The actual effort and commitment is however a complete unknown at the time. I have been involved in a number of theses now dating back to the 1990’s when I implemented the first failure investigation procedure at my old company.

The work is both technology led, but also “forensic” in nature and whilst it is both technically challenging and hard work, it brings huge job satisfaction knowing that 40+ years of gaining knowledge, experience and competence in the welding industry is all of a sudden, now fully engaged on such technically challenging and demanding work.

The icing on the cake for Weld-Class was the very positive feedback received from the legal team, the client representatives as well as the Lead Expert.

Looking ahead, 2018 also appears to be a challenging year as we move closer to Brexit. I wonder how this will affect the welding and fabrication industry? I am sure that no one knows so we will have to wait and see….