How women are challenging common perceptions about welding industry

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Niranjana Skillveri

Niranjana Ajith, Product Specialist – Welding, Skillveri

Today, women are developing their careers in unique ways as against the conservative norms. That is why more women are entering into sectors like manufacturing, rubber, construction etc. and excelling in diverse job roles that were once reserved for men. We are happy to share the story of one such woman who has taken a different career path through her expertise in welding technology. Niranjana Ajith is a Product Specialist-Welding Simulation who is working with Skillveri Training Solutions Pvt Ltd. She has developed the Welding Simulator to train learners in the nuances of welding technology. Her story is an inspiration for aspiring women welders who want to make a difference in their lives. Let’s read on…

“When I went to the field as part of my work, the first reaction from the people was,”Oh! A lady? We expected a man to come.” Niranjana was recollecting an incident that happened during one of her field visits.

As more women enter into the male-dominated welding industry, it is surprising to realize that, people‘s perceptions are difficult to change. Everyone is pre-occupied with the notion that only men can do such jobs. However, women like Niranjana are changing this notion in a powerful manner through hard work and talent.

“It is very difficult to change the mindset of people. They think that only men are able to do such jobs. This problem is persistent in many industries like manufacturing, automobile etc. Sometimes, customers insist that their technical queries be answered by men only. Even though I am capable of answering all queries, people are not willing to change their mindset.” she says.

With hands-on experience and technical knowledge regarding welding, Niranjana has been a part of the team that developed the Welding Simulator, a first-of-its-kind initiative that helps learners to study welding pretty easily. The simulator helps women to learn welding in an easy manner. As such, more women are showing interest in learning welding.

Women in welding

Niranjana and her team have conducted a survey in Kochi to assess the capability of women in painting. As per the observations, women tend to be more organized and learned faster as compared to men. She said one of the women who had attended the training in Kochi was afraid of learning Spray Painting due to the machines used. However, she was able to complete the hardest level of simulation training successfully with 95+ marks.

“After the training, she was motivated and told me that she is not afraid to learn Spray Painting anymore. This is the kind of transformation that happens in women once they are given the right kind of training.” she adds.

There are many women who aspire to be in the welding industry irrespective of the challenges attached to the sector. Niranjana shared her experience from a women’s welding competition conducted by Kemppi India Pvt Ltd – a leading welding equipment manufacturer. Around 30 women from different parts of India had participated in that competition and showcased their skills. She found that there are many aspiring women welders who are passionate about learning new skills.

The issues that women welders face are many. Lack of separate washrooms in shop floor areas is a major concern for women workers. Many shop floors don’t have washroom for women. Since, the shop floor areas will be far away from the main building, it is very difficult for a woman to go to washroom in between the work. However, in spite of all the challenges, women are slowly taking up jobs in male-dominated sectors and it is a positive sign that more women are entering the workforce. Some factories like Ashok Leyland and GE have started employing women as welders, and have seen good results.

Women like Niranjana are setting an example for others by excelling in sectors that were once dominated by men. Through proper determination and hard work, women are able to take different career paths and show their capability to the world.

She says, “Initially, it will be difficult for people to realize that it is very normal for a woman to be a welder. However, once they understand that the knowledge and talent of a woman is as equal as or better than her male counterpart, they will accept her.”

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