Welder Training and Certification – National Perspective and role of IIW India


R. Banerjee, Executive Director, IIW India
CEO, ANB-India
Scheme Manager, ANBCC – India

Welding is an enabling technology that plays a critical role in almost every industry sector. It is vital to any countries ability to meet the pressures and challenges on manufacturing, infrastructure, power generation required to meet the nation’s basic needs of food, water, shelter and education. Welding is now well recognized as a key player in the industrial and economic growth of a nation. According to some estimates welding directly and indirectly contributes to 8 – 10% of the growth in GDP.
Whether joining 20 micron in the Cochlear Ear Implant or welding the 480 metres long, 74 metres wide, 600,000 ton world’s first floating liquefied gas plant, welding makes significant contributions to the global quality of life. Welding technologies, whether basic or sophisticated and the people skilled in their implementation and application are thus the cornerstones to this growth.
With the rapid growth in the Indian economy and steel consumption there is a corresponding growth in welding activities. This has generated a huge demand for skilled and qualified welders and other related knowledgeable professionals in the fabrication and construction industries. Availability of competent and skilled people in welding at all levels is today recognized as a major constraint for the Indian fabrication and construction industry.
In response to the countries need for skilled workmen including welders, the Government of India has accorded a high priority to this subject, with the Prime Minister’s of both the UPA and NDA governments taking a personal interest in skill development. While the initiative on Skill Development was started in 2011 by setting up of The Prime Minister’s National Council for Skill Development and formation of the NSDC (National Skill Development Corporation) this was further promoted by the NDA who set up a separate Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and launched the National Skill Development Mission in July 2015. This was supported by launch of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) the country’s largest skill development program.
The article attempts to outline the demand for welders, the present scenario of welder training and certification activity in India and project the role that IIW India is playing to meet the industries and sector skill councils demand for competent and qualified welders, by acting as “Knowledge Partners” for developing curriculum and course content for the different welding processes, approving welder training centres, training the trainers and as an independent Assessing Agency for testing and certification of welders.
India’s demographic profile and need for skill development
Out of India’s present population of 1.2 billion over 700 million are in the working age group. India is one of the few countries which have a surplus potential in working age population and it is estimated that 25% of the additional global work-force in the next few years will be Indians.
As a consequence of the traditional Indian education system there are nearly 200 million graduates in the country whereas the predominantly knowledge based occupations are only 9% as against 91% predominantly skill-based occupations. Thus it may be noted that there is huge need for skilling people across all sectors of industry, agriculture and services. It is estimated that 12.8 million people enter the workforce every year whereas the total existing training capacity in the country is only around 4 million ie. 30% of the requirement. Taking into account up-skilling of a major portion of the workforce it would be seen that there needs to be an eight-fold increase in the training capacity. It is estimated that a total of 500 million people would need to be skilled by 2022
This shortage of skilled workers is leading to losses in time, cost and quality in all sectors. It is noted that only 8 – 10% of the Indian workforce is skilled as compared to over 80% in the Southeast Asian countries.
Estimate of Skilled People needed in India by 2020

Industry Number in millions
Construction 30
Fabrication & Manufacturing 27
Retail 15
Textile & cloting 14
Logistics 10
Automobile 4

Welding is a widely used skill offering opportunities for careers in the fabrication and construction industries as well as for self employment in small scale enterprises.
The major process used in fabrication is welding. The process is used in fabricating everything we see around us like buildings, bridges, flyover, cars, locomotives and coaches, ship, airplanes, general machineries, consumer durables and defense equipment.
The human face of welding is the WELDER. People starting out with practical welding qualifications can achieve high level of welding skills which are greatly sought after globally, with better pay packages than many white collar jobs.
Steel consumption in India and demand for welders
The sustainable level of per capita consumption of steel is about 300kg / person / year in a developed economy. When a country is in infrastructure creation mode, the consumption goes up to even 1,000 kg/person/year and finally may stabilise at around 300 kg. Compare this with India’s present steel consumption of 70kg / person / year.
India presently consumes about 100 million tons of steel every year, most of which is used for fabrication and construction activities. Steel is used for creating infrastructure – roads, bridges etc, for building power plants, petro-chemical and refinery complexes, for railways rolling stock & track, manufacturing ships, locomotives and cars etc. The declared Government plan of massive priority investment in infrastructure and construction envisages much higher steel consumption. The projections are that of steel consumption in India reaching 130 million tons by 2020 and`300 million tons by 2030.
Obviously, there will be a corresponding growth in welding activities. There is a great demand for qualified and knowledgeable welders and other related skilled professionals in fabrication and construction industries, such that expert welders and welding professionals have become a sought after commodity. It is estimated that there is a demand for 4.0 lac skilled welders in industry today which will go up to 5.0 lac welders by 2020. This implies that approximately 30 – 40,000 additional welders will have to be trained per year.
It may be noted that 60% of the above requirement is in the organised sector and is for professionally trained and certified welders who can be utilised by the fabrication and construction industries. The balance 40% requirement is for welders required in unorganised and rural sector, for non-critical applications in grill gate fabrications etc. where certification is not a must.
Apart from the bulk demand for welding personnel to match the growth in steel there is need for people with greater technical knowledge and expertise to match the requirements of advanced materials and processes. Advancement in technology has led to the use of improved quality, higher tensile and low corrosion steels, increased large scale use of stainless steel in construction and transportation segment including railways and use of other materials of construction and fabrication. There is also continuous development of welding processes for higher quality and productivity along with reduced cost. Environment, health and productivity considerations are also changing the fabrication procedures dramatically.
Codes and standards in fabrication and requirement for welder certification 
Codes are necessary to assure reliability and safety of equipment and structures. Codes provide rules for design, manufacture ( by forming / welding ) inspection and testing of fabricated equipment and structures
Examples of codes / standards

  • ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel code
  • AWS Structural Welding code
  • API pipe welding code
  • EN 15085 Fabrication of Railway vehicles and components
  • EN 1090 Fabrication of steel and aluminium structures

The rules require that all welders have to be approved and certified to work on any coded fabrication.
Thus, a welder has to acquire all the following to be effectively employed and for career enhancement in the industry.

·  Skill

·  Knowledge and

· Certification / qualificationFurther the welder has to be trained in the different welding processes used in fabrication relevant to his plant / industry and acquire certification for each type of process. The major welding processes being

  • Manual Metal Arc Welding ( MMAW )
  • Gas tungsten Arc Welding (GMAW ) – also known as TIG
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) – also known as MIG / MAG
  • Flux cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
  • Submerged Arc welding (SAW)

Career progression of a Welder
In general there are the following types of welded fabrication and except the first category a welder requires to be properly trained and certified to work on them.

  • Light Structural’s ( non-critical )
  • Medium & Heavy Structural’s
  • Pressure vessels ( Fired and unfired )
  • Piping and pipelines

As would be apparent the routes for career progression for a welder, after acquiring necessary skill certification in various processes are to become either a welding shop supervisor or welding inspector. Both these require further education, training, qualification and certification.
Requirements of a Welding Supervisor / Inspector;

  • He should have good practical knowledge of the relevant welding processes to guide the welders regarding cause of welding defects and their rectification.
  • He is basically required to supervise the overall fabrication process including cutting, bending and assembling of plates, establishment of welding procedures, distortion control, pre and post heating procedures, inspection and testing of welds and components etc.
  • An idea of the methodology of quality assurance and quality control is also required from the Welding Supervisor / Inspector, and he should lead the team for successful implementation of these techniques
  • The Welding supervisor / Inspector should have good knowledge the procedures and implications of

– Non-destructive testing
– Destructive testing
Thus, it is necessary provide a comprehensive system for welder education, training and certification / qualification so that workmen coming into this trade can reach their full potential.
Vocational training system in India
Welder training is part of the vocational training system in India. Vocational training being a concurrent subject under the constitution, the Central and State Governments share responsibility for effective implementation of the vocational training system in the country.
At the national level, the Directorate General of Training (DGT) under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship is the nodal body for formulating policies, laying down norms, standards, conducting trade tests and certification of vocational training under the aegis of the National Council of Vocational Training (NCVT). .
Institutional Training
The State Governments through Industrial Training Institutes / Industrial Training Centres (ITIs / ITCs) impart institutionalized vocational training under Craftsman Training Scheme, which is one of the flagship programs run by the DGT.
The craftsman training is provided to youth with the objective to prepare semi-skilled workers for industry. The educational qualification required varies from class VIII to class XII depending on the trade. The duration of training varies from 6 months to three years. The trainees after completion of craftsmen training appear in the All India Trade Test to get National Trade Certificate awarded by the NCVT, which is recognised for the purpose of recruitment to the sub-ordinate technical posts at the shop floor level within the country as well as abroad.
As per April 2016 figures there are around 13,100 ITIs in the country, approx 2300 in the public sector and balance 10,800 in the private sector with a capacity to train 17,00,000 candidates in various trades. Approximately 25% of the ITIs provide courses in welding but majority for only basic gas and manual metal arc welding.
The capacity of the ITIs, although adequate previously is not sufficient to meet the demand for trained labour in the phase of 6-7% growth the country is achieving over the last few years. In addition there is need to upgrade the ITIs to meet the demands of the latest technologies and new skills and also locate ITIs in rural areas rather than present urban areas.
To this end, the Government had taken a program to add 1500 more ITIs and upgrade 500 existing ITIs as Centers of Excellence and already 800 new ITIs have been added and 100 upgraded. One of the routes is through public private partnership whereby private industry is offered management of government institutes.
On the Job Welding Training – Apprenticeship Training through Industry
Another important training scheme of DGT is apprenticeship training imparted under the Apprentices Act 1961 in industrial establishments to school leavers and ITI graduates with the objective to prepare skilled workers for industry. The educational qualifications vary from class VIII pass to class XII pass depending on the trade. Duration of training varies from one year to four years. All India Trade tests are conducted under the aegis of NCVT and successful candidates are awarded National Apprenticeship Certificate, which is a recognized qualification for recruitment to the shop floor within the country.
At present, welding training provided by ITIs and through the apprenticeship training schemes is inconsistent in quality and trainees vary in competency. Further the requirements of the NCVT trade tests do not match the requirements of the industry particularly for any coded fabrication. Thus the fabricator has to invest in further training of the workmen to make them suitable for his job requirements.
Private Welding Training Institutes
These may be classified into the following categories;

  1. Training institutes run by welding product companies eg ESAB Welding Institute & ADOR Welding Institute, who provide quality training in the different welding processes with modern equipment and prepare the candidates for radiographic quality welding in plate and pipe. Although the training report of these institutes is well recognized by the industry but they are unable to provide formal certification as per any code which is a handicap for the students.
  2. Training institutes run by charitable institutions like Don Bosco. They have a large network of over 100 institutes spread throughout the country of which around 50 have provision for welding training. However except a few which have good facilities the others provide only basic training. The advantage of these institutes is that they are able to subsidize the training cost to the students through aid / donations received from various foreign and national organizations and provide a disciplined atmosphere for the students.
  3. Private training institutes run on commercial basis. Most of these are set up as human resource suppliers for welding and allied trades to the gulf countries and Singapore / Malaysia. They offer tailor made training courses to prepare the candidates for employment in specific industries abroad. However most of them do not provide a comprehensive training program to meet code requirements nor any sort of certification.
  4. Some of the major fabrication industries eg. BHEL, Larsen & Toubro and also organizations like Railways have In-house welding training institutes / departments which are used to train up welders to meet their requirements.

Government of India’s initiatives in skill development
At present the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has the responsibility of achieving the objectives of the National Skill Development Mission and through it the vision of “Skilled India”.
The Mission has been developed to consolidate and coordinate the national skilling efforts by creating convergence across sectors and States in terms of skill training activities ie Central Ministries of Labour, HRD, MoRD, MSME, State Governments, NSDC and the private sector. The public sector has been mandated to skill 350 million people and the private sector to skill 150 million by 2020.
The Mission Directorate is supported by three institutions: National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), and Directorate General of Training (DGT) – this department has been transferred from Ministry of Labour to Skills Ministry.
The NSDA is an autonomous body set up under the Skills Ministry to meet the skilling targets as envisaged in the 12th Five year Plan and beyond, to increase the employability of youth in India. The main functions of the NSDA are

  1. Rationalisation of the Skill Development Schemes of the Government and to harmonise the approach to skill development between Central Ministries / Departments and State Governments.
  2. Creation of an integrated Labour Market Information System (LMIS)
  3. Engagement with states and to act as Nodal agency for State Skill Development missions.
  4. Anchor and operationalize the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) to ensure that quality and standards meet specific sector requirements.

The NSQF offers an open / flexible system of education and skilling which would permit individuals to accumulate their knowledge and skills and convert them through testing and certification into higher diplomas and degrees. The NSQF defines the skill and proficiency needed at ten different levels in terms of learning outcomes acquired through formal and in-formal education. It also provides progression pathways with multiple entry and exit points.
The National Skill Development Corporation ( NSDC ) was set up to promote and co-ordinate the skill development activity in the private sector. NSDC was set up in the PPP model with 49% equity held by Ministry of Finance, GOI and 51% held by leading industry associations eg. CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM etc. The NSDC has the following roles

  1. To exponentially create additional skills training capacity in the Private Sector by awareness building, loan financing and supporting P-P-P models.
  2. To establish industry sector wise skill development councils. These sector skill councils would assess the skill requirements for their sector and establish labour market information system and also draw up skill development plans and appoint training partners (TPs).
  3. They would also promote development of skills to international standards through industry involvement and develop frameworks for standards, curriculum and quality assurance by creating occupational standards and competency level for job roles within their sector and arrange for training and assessment leading to certification.
  4. Implementing agency for GOIs skill development programs such as PMKVY. 

Sector Skill Councils (SSC) is set up as autonomous industry led bodies by NSDC. They create National Occupational Standards (NOS) and Qualification Packs (QPs), develop competency frameworks, conduct Training the Trainers programs, conduct skill gap studies and assess and certify trainees. The main SSCs involved with welding skills are the Capital Goods Sector, Automobile Sector, Automobile Sector, Iron & Steel Sector, Construction Sector, Power and Mining Sectors.
Status of welder certification in India

  • Industry does not have a ready source of trained and certified welders to meet their needs.
  • Most of the time they have to recruit ITI welders and depend on internal training and up-skilling which is expensive.
  • Alternately, set up their own training institutions eg. L&T Construction division.
  • High cost of delivering required level of welding training leads to many Training institutes diluting their training regime and inadequate competency and skill level of trainees.

Industry accepted Certification

  • Certification by notified bodies eg. LRS, IRS, ABS, BV, DNV etc as per any standard welder testing code eg ASME sec IX, ISO

9606-1, EN 287-1, AWS D1.1, IS 7310. Not linked to any training program.

  • IBR certification by State Boiler Boards – required for Power Plants
  • Certification by IIW India under ISO 17024 accreditation by NABET for any National / International standard as mentioned above and also for IIW India’s NWTCS certification schemes
  • Railways accept IS 7310 & 9606-1 certification by IIW India

Role of IIW India
The Indian Institute of Welding (IIW India) is a professional body devoted to the promotion and advancement of welding science and technology in India. Established in 1966 it has fourteen branches and chapters spread throughout the country. It has over 4500 welding professionals and 300 industries as members. IIW India is a member society of the International Institute of Welding (IIW) and has been accorded the status of an Authorised National Body for the training and certification of welding professionals by the International Institute of Welding.
To promote human resources development for welding in India, IIW India has defined the following role for the institute

  • Knowledge Provider to industry and Training Institutes
  • Assessment & Certification of welders
  • Training the Trainers
  • Operate the National Welding Training & Certification Scheme at the national level
  • Operate ANB India as an authorized body of IIW for international qualifications

 Taking into consideration the above role IIW India have pursued the following strategic objectives
Obtain accreditation from the International Institute of Welding to operate their International Welder Training courses in India.
Obtain accreditation from the Quality Council of India, NABET as a Conformiy Assessment Body for certification of persons as per ISO / IEC 17024:2012. Scope covers certification of welders as per International / National standards and IIW India’s NWTCS standards.
Develop and establish IIW India’s National Welder Training and Certification Scheme (NWTCS) at the national level.
Develop a robust and efficient structure to act as the leading assessment and certification body for welders.
Conduct Teachers training program for welding instructors.
Collaborate with Sector Skill Councils to meet their specific needs with respect to welding
Empanel as an Assessing Body for all Fabrication Sector courses under DGT’s Modular Employable Skills (MES) Skill development program.
International Welding Courses
To promote Education and Qualification in welding in India in line with International Standards which would be globally recognised and accepted ANB India had applied for and become an Authorised National Body (ANB India) of IIW in July 2007 to operate their International System for Education, examination and Qualification of welding personnel. The courses cover all levels starting from International Welding Engineer down to International Welder.
The International welder courses cover the main welding processes of MMAW, GTAW, GMAW & FCAW at the levels of Fillet Welder, Plate Welder and Tube (Pipe) welder. The training programs are conducted at IIW India Approved training Bodies (ATBs) and follow the IIW guidelines with respect to syllabus and practical test and theoretical examination requirements. The assessment tests are conducted by ANB India’s Authorised Examiners at the ATBs. Successful candidates are awarded International Welder diplomas for the relevant process and level. They also receive ISO 9606 or EN 287 certificates which are accepted globally.
Till date over 100 candidates Trained at Don Bosco, Cochin and Quivan Technical Institute have been awarded International Welding diplomas and certification as per EN 287 / ISO 9606. These diplomas and certificates provide an opportunity for young people to receive due recognition and value for their skill outside the country and also serve as a bench mark for standard of welder training programs at the national level.
The IIW accreditation also authorizes ANB India’s authorized examiners to conduct Welders Approval Testing and Certification to meet the industries demand for certification of experienced welders already engaged in welding job to meet their own quality system requirements eg ISO 3834 or to comply with customer’s or collaborators requirements. The certificates maybe issued as per ISO 9606 / EN387 / ASME sec IX.
Apart from this, ANB India also has the International Welding Practioner, International Welding Specialist and International Welding Inspection Personnel diplomas within their scope. These courses cater to the next rung of progression for the shop floor welder and are meant for specialized welding machine operators, welding foremen and supervisors, welding inspectors and very importantly welding instructors. It is acknowledged that the most important factor in any training is the quality and competency of the instructor. This is particularly true for welding.
IIW India’s accreditation under ISO 17024 : 2012
In August 2016, the National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) a constituent Board of Quality Council of India (QCI) has accredited The Indian Institute of Welding as a Conformity Assessment Body operating for certification of persons based on ISO/IEC 17024:2012″. This accreditation is globally recognized.
The main objectives of obtaining the accreditation are:
To attain international recognition of the competency and skills of the personnel being certified by the Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) i.e. IIW-India, under its NWTCS certification program or any National or International welders qualification standards.
To enhance the employability prospects of the certified candidates in India and abroad.
To ensure that the fabrication & construction industries are able to obtain personnel with relevant skill sets and competencies
IIW-India is the first organization in India to get accreditation as a Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) under ISO/IEC 17024:2012 by NABET and the institute has been given the accreditation number PCB001. Henceforth, all Welders Certificates issued by IIW-India would bear the NABET Accreditation Symbol along with IIW-India Logo.
The scope of IIW-India’s above accreditation covers the following:
Certification of Welders as per the varoius International & National standards & codes eg ISO 9606, ASME Sec IX , IS 7310  AWS D.1.1 etc.
Certification of Welders as per IIW-India’s NWTCS own certification schemes at various levels
Benefits of certification under ISO 17024:

  • The NABET 17024 accreditation symbol on the candidate’s certificate assures competence level of the candidate to international standards.
  • Globally accepted Recognised and accepted by Industry.
  • Enhances the employability prospects of the certified candidates in India and abroad.

 IIW India’s National Welding Training and Certification Scheme
 The Scheme has been prepared to meet the demand of industry for welders, trained and certified to a level of competency commensurate with the requirements of any of the welder qualification and certification standards or codes i.e. IS:7310 / IS:817, IBR, ISO:9606-1, BSEN:287 and ASME Sec IX / AWS D1.1. many other.
The scheme is specifically designed for large number of pre-school leaving candidates and dropouts who are unable to continue with formal education and provides an opportunity to build alternative careers. The National Welders’ Training and Certification Scheme (NWTCS) will make the qualified welders better acceptable to industry all over India and open up opportunity and mobility throughout the country. The scheme covers requirements for ‘Training & Certification’ or ‘Certification’ only and is operated by the IIW-INDIA Skill Development Committee.
To operate the scheme IIW India’s strategy is to inspect and approve existing welding training institutes as Approved Testing Centers (ATCs) for conducting assessment and testing of candidates leading to certification. IIW India also approves welder training institutes as Approved Training Institutes (ATIs) provided they have the required standard of practical and theoretical training facilities and faculty as specified in the scheme. At present there are around 15 ATIs under IIW India’s NWTCS. Further to ensure an uniform standard of training delivery at the ATIs, IIW India have introduced Welding Instructors courses and also provide lesson plans and course notes to the ATIs.
NWTCS Certification Schemes for Welders – Divided into 4 categories

  • Foundation level Certification Schemes – 3 nos.
  • Industry oriented Certification Schemes – 4 nos.
  • Special Certification Schemes – 6 nos.
  • Industry oriented short term skill upgradation courses

In developing these Certification Schemes and courses, consideration has been given to the Skill set requirements and competency levels required by the various industry sectors. In this context, IIW-India is working in close co-ordination with various Industry Sectors Skill Development Councils (SSCs) formed under the National Skill Development Council e.g. Automobile Sectors Skill Development Council, Steel Sector, Capital goods sector etc.
 IIW India’s Assessment & Certification Infrastructure
In support of IIW-India’s assessment & certification activities, the Institute has a major advantage in that a majority of its 4500 odd members are welding professionals at various levels, located under the different branches spread over the country.
The institute had already set up an infrastructure of State co-ordinators and Authorised Assessors for the MES scheme. This has been expanded to meet the needs of the NWTCS and PMKVY schemes assessment activity. This will allow the Institute to provide suitably competent examiners and infrastructure at different locations to serve the various schemes and ATIs.
 Training the Trainers
IIW India recognizes a huge shortage of competent welding instructors and also need
to upgrade the existing trainers. This training is directly imparted by IIW-India
IIW India has collaborated with various organizations such as NITTTR, IL&FS, ITI Tollygunge to conduct Teachers Training programs for welding instructors.
Best Welder and Best Welding Engineer competition
 To motivate welders and welding supervisors / engineers IIW India organizes an annual All India competition through its branches. Each branch conducts practical and theoretical tests and selects the best welders / welding engineers from their regions. The final competition is held along with the IIW India National seminar and prizes awarded to the winners at the inaugural function. One of the objectives of the institute in holding this competition is to enhance the self respect and dignity of the welding profession.
 From the foregoing it will be seen that IIW India has been consistently pursuing its mission of human resources development in the welding field in India as fulfillment of its national role. While there has been considerable progress in the various programs taken up by the institute, both at the national and international level, much still needs to be done and the institute is working steadfastly in pursuit of its objectives.