We asked David Allison, AWS Sales Manager for Queensland, to tell us how he has seen the welding industry change in QLD during his involvement over the last 20 years.
When Did You Start In The Welding Industry?
After getting off the tools I started as a counter sales-person in the welding sales industry in 1990. I started with AWS in 2005 and have absolutely loved supporting the Speedglas Welding Helmet product range over the last 13 years. I have always really enjoyed the technical side of welding products, sharing new technology and finding better solutions for my customers. As the first auto-darkening welding helmet ever, Speedglas welding helmets were a revolution in the welding industry when they were first released. Similar in a way to the step-change when smart phones were first released. This was a key motivator for me to want to work for a company like AWS supporting a brand like Speedglas. Speedglas is a market leader driving technological innovation and I wanted to be a part of that.
So What's Changed in QLD?
A lot has changed in the welding industry in the last 20 years. When it came to welding machines, bigger was better, and inverters were just something fancy being used over in Europe. However, over time, Australia moved away from the transformers and across to the inverters and the technology and software has advanced in leaps and bounds ever since. In Queensland the welding industry has exploded with the majority being fuelled by mining. Wherever you see a mine there’ll be heavy welding and lots of it. Welding plays a key part in the QLD economy helping to build the Gateway Bridges, the coal port expansions at Hay Point and Abbot Point and the pipelines between Western QLD and Gladstone and between Roma and Brisbane.
The biggest change I have seen in the welding industry has been both company and welders’ attitudes toward welding safety. The “she’ll be right” attitude is not so common these days. It’s great working alongside companies and welders with a view to introducing personal protective solutions to keep welders safe.
Unfortunately a negative that I see in QLD, hidden by the mining boom, is that the foundry industry is in serious decline with many closing their doors in Australia and heading off-shore. What continues to work well, especially in Brisbane, are all the specialised vehicle manufacturing shops for truck bodies, transport trailers and tippers. Where a door closes a window opens in the sunshine state.
What's Required for the Welding Industry to Remain Strong in QLD?
For the welding industry to remain strong into the future in Queensland I personally feel government and private enterprise need to continue to team-up to drive infrastructure investment. Infrastructure projects always drive employment. We also need to invest in the skills here locally with the right kind of welding education and training and making sure youngsters know that welding is a lucrative and respected trade. The whole sales team at AWS is proof that working as a welder opens up doors into many other professions should you ever want to get off the tools down the track.
Why do you work in the welding industry?
There’s nothing better than finding a piece of safety equipment that keeps welders safe that they actually want to wear. Luckily for me, Speedglas makes that pretty easy. You only get one set of eyes, lungs, hands and feet and they don’t come with a warranty. I recommend you protect them with the best products.
View the range of 3M Speedglas Welding Helmets.