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Raising a New Generation of Welders

Like many careers, welding has been affected by automation, but unlike other careers the world is suffering from a shortage of talented welders despite encroaching automation. This means that wages remain high for welders around the world. In this blog we’re asking how welding is currently being taught and if enough is being done to encourage young people to take up welding as a career.

Young man with protective mask welding in a factory

Growth in the Industry

The arc welding industry is growing at a rate of approximately 6% per year. In the US, job growth was predicted at 5% between 2016 and 2026. We can assume that the UK is comparable, as Europe’s statistics closely follow north America for welding equipment markets, and where people are buying equipment, there must surely be people welding and expanding the industry. Unfortunately, K-TIG predicts that opposed to the growth experienced elsewhere across the world, Europe will experience a decline because we do not have enough skilled welding labour to capitalise on the growth.

Due to the anticipated growth, we should be looking to encourage young people to take up skills in welding at all levels – from practical application to understanding the future of automation in the welding world and helping to carve it.

pipe welding and welders

Welding Teachers

Investing in welding programs could pave the way towards profit and development in the European welding market. An American example shows how a dedicated and well-funded welding school that offers its students a thorough two-year course receives multiple calls from companies looking to source welding talent.

This report emphasises the high-quality of the equipment that the students will be handling, enabling them to develop good skill sets without struggling with poor equipment. Working with great equipment encourages the students to take greater pride in their work, and this shows in the fantastic reputation of the school.

Hands-on courses that can lead to lucrative wages also offer those students who might struggle in an academic environment a way towards financial success. For many would-be welders, apprenticeships mark the beginning of their journey, but more dedicated courses and respect for the welding industry might encourage more young people to take up welding as a serious career opportunity.

Like many first world countries, the UK is struggling with the impression that university is a must for younger generations. This places undue stress on those who are not academically inclined, as well as causing skills shortages in hands-on careers such as welding.

Perhaps due to the lucrative nature of welding careers, it may also be true that there is some difficulty in convincing established and earning welders to drop their successful careers to teach the next generation. In order to capitalise on the projected growth in the welding industry, an investment to encourage teachers and students to pick up the welding gun is going to be necessary.

Engineer Teaching Apprentice To Use TIG Welding Machine At Work

Teach Yourself to Weld

Outside of those who are welding in the hopes of securing a career, there are multiple individuals who are passionate enough to teach themselves to weld. The variety of individuals learning to weld as a hobby in the UK should tell us that there would be sufficient interest for a few welding schools in the UK.

It may be that in order to replenish the skills gap in welding, we will have to rely on passionate individuals to inspire the younger generations before we can expect to see dedicated funding. This will mean the establishment of afterschool welding clubs, followed by high-profile welding clubs to which pupils can progress when they leave school or college, more conventions where welders can test themselves, network and connect (such as the annual SkillWeld UK). All of this will depend on the goodwill of our nation’s current welding community, however.

For those individuals currently looking to connect with other welders in the UK, we recommend the Association of Welding Distribution, and there are various other circles available through social media on Facebook and Reddit. Alternatively, you may want to reach out to the productive community who showcase their work on Instructables.

Industrial Welder With Torch and Protective Helmet in big hall welding metal profiles

If you’re a teacher (or an aspiring club leader) looking to supply MIG welding gas or TIG welding gas to your students, then you should get in contact with us with any questions regarding our supplies. We also offer gas bottle refills and welding equipment for purchase.