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Among the numerous classes of engineering and construction workers, welders perform an essential skilled job that is in great demand in all countries, particularly the industrialized ones, such as Japan, which have launched large infrastructure projects requiring assembling or installing high-rise and complex superstructures and facilities requiring steel fabrication works.
Before applying for a job as a welder, an applicant is expected to master his or her skill and the quality of the finished job. Rigid industrial training will help an applicant prepare for a good-paying job as long as he or she has the diligence to learn the basic skills needed and the attitude demanded in this difficult and challenging trade skill. There are some essential things that need to be learned and put to heart at all times in order to minimize or eliminate errors and costly use of materials, aside from knowing the basic skills of welding itself.
Welding is a metal fabrication process involving melting and fusing parts together at high temperatures, often with the added use of a filler or molten material, which facilitates the formation of what is called a strong welded joint. The process may require the application of various forms of energy, whether a gas flame (chemical energy), an electric arc (electrical energy), a laser (light energy), an electron beam or ultrasound energy, allowing welding to be done in almost any kind of environment whether underwater, in space or in the open air.
There are several basic types of a welding, with 4 of the most-commonly use being the following:
GMAW or MIG (Gas Metal Arc Welding)
This is the most common type which utilizes a shielding gas along an electrode wire, which fuses two metals as it heats up through a constant electrical voltage from a direct-current source. The metal transfer can be either via globular, short-circuiting, spray or pulsed-spray method.
GTAW or TIG (Gas Tungsten Arc Gas Welding)
Welding thick sections of non-ferrous metals or stainless steel are often done through this process, which utilizes a tungsten electrode to produce the weld. This method takes longer time and involves a more complex process.
SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding)
This involves a manual welding process using a welding stick, which is powered by electricity to produce an arc between the stick and the metals to be fused together. This is commonly applied in the fabrication and installation of steel structures made of iron and steel.
SCAW (Flux-Cored Arc Welding)
Instead of shield welding, this method uses a semi-automatic arc welding process at high-speed and portable means. This process does not require external gas and is suited to fusing thick metals at lower costs.
This welding process is applicable for metals or thermoplastics, such as carbon steels, stainless steel, aluminum, or titanium. The automotive industry often utilizes this method through the use of robotics and other automation procedures.
Electron Beam Welding
This applies a high-velocity beam of electrons which produce heat through kinetic energy, fusing materials together. This highly-sophisticated type of welding is performed by machines often in a vacuum environment.
Workers having job experiences in any of these welding techniques have plenty of opportunities to find employment placements in Japan, whether in manufacturing, commercial construction, mining, agriculture, and in equipment repair & maintenance. The wide variety of applications of skills in welding methods assure job hunters a great chance to land a job that is suited to their level of experience. The specific type of job they end up having will depend on their particular welding expertise and the types of applications and companies that will require their skills. Some jobs may require knowledge and experience in other skills other than welding, such as metalworking, construction, and finishing and the use of power tools for cutting, forming, and installing metal fittings.
Applying for a welding job in Japan often requires one or two years of work experience in either TIG welding or MIG welding. Proof of one’s technical or vocational educational background is required. However, there are a few companies that only require a vocational certificate in welding without actual work experience and are willing to provide training to recruits. Applicants who have a minimum 10 years of work experience as welders and can secure a work visa must seek a hiring company which can sponsor their employment as welders in Japan. They must also be willing to learn the Japanese language or already speak it to can get the job. Some companies offer reimbursements for plane fare once the employee starts working.
For more advanced or sophisticated welding jobs, a college diploma or a degree in engineering might be required of job applicants. Certificates of advanced or specialized welding skills may also be asked of more complex jobs being sought. Standard documentary such as valid passport, working visa, and POEA-accreditation for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) must be submitted upon application online or through manpower placement agencies.
The yearly salary rates for welders will depend on the size of the company concerned. Starting salaries for new graduates can range from 200,000 to 250,000 Yen and the annual income for the initial year is around 3 Million Yen. With time and more experience on the job, an average annual income of around 4.4 to 5 Million Yen can be obtained by veteran workers starting at the age of 40. Remember that these figures are applicable to those doing welding work underwater in shipyards and on top of high-rise building constructions. Generally, however, welders can expect to receive an average salary of 2.5 to 3 Million Yen per year.
※ Heikinenshu “Yosetsuko”
As mentioned, ability to converse in Japanese is required; however, some companies can provide opportunity to learn the language before they are allowed to begin work.
Year-end holiday leaves, summer vacations, and other fringe benefits, such as free accommodations or discounted food, are also provided to workers, depending on the policies and practices of the hiring company.
The quality of a single welding job, whether it is a tiny spot weld between two steel rods or a long butt weld that joins two large plates of steel in a bridge truss or roofing ridge, will determine the strength of that particular welding joint; and taken altogether, the entire quality of the welding assembly job will determine the strength and integrity of a whole structure or building. Welders possess the ability to form, fabricate or install tall and complex steel structures that will be utilized by humans for housing, storing property and goods, or supporting vital heavy materials or transport systems used in industry and business. It is the often unappreciated yet crucial work that requires consistency in application of skills, use of quality materials, and diligent performance which also subjects workers to many dangers and difficulties.
Japanese companies recognize the role of welders in the whole context of infrastructure projects and are prepared to put their stake in hiring highly-skilled and well-motivated workers and providing them the necessary support as they put their craft into profitable use.
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