From British Army Sergeant to International Welding Specialist

A former sergeant in the British Army is realising his ambition to become a highly qualified welding inspector thanks to industry training from TWI.

Stephen Norrish, who served in the military for 22 years, has just passed his European Welding Federation/International Institute of Welding and (EWF/IIW) International Welding Specialist Diploma, and already has his eye on achieving the next level of qualification in 2015.

Stephen joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers two months before his 18th birthday, beginning a career that would see him stationed in Europe, North America, the Middle East and the South Atlantic. During this time he was employed as a metalsmith, gaining civilian qualifications in welding, so he was well placed to move into a commercial welding role upon leaving the army.

When Stephen left the army he turned to TWI for training that would allow him to progress his career as an engineer and develop his skills as a welding inspector.

‘A few colleagues had mentioned that they were considering moving into welding inspection, and after meeting with someone who did it for a living I decided it sounded right for me,’ he explained.

‘I had a look online for the right course and found TWI and CSWIP straight away. I started off with the CSWIP 3.1 Welding Inspector course and then decided that I wanted to continue my training with the EWF/IIW Diploma at International Welding Specialist level.

‘In order to continue my newly chosen course, I sought employment with a major fabricator and was fortunate enough to be employed by one of the best in the industry: Bourne Steel.’

Bourne Steel has sponsored Stephen throughout, providing him with funding and time off to complete the training through TWI.

Having gained International Welding Specialist certification, in 2015 Stephen will begin studying for the next level in the diploma, to become an International Welding Technologist. To reach the relevant academic qualifications required for that EWF/IIW engineering level, Stephen will study materials fabrication and welding via the Open University.

“Just as I did when in the army, I’m always looking for the next career step, and to achieve the absolute best that I can,” he said.

With such obvious drive and dedication, the full support of his employer, and access to industry-leading training from TWI, there is no reason to doubt that former Sergeant Stephen Norrish will go on to achieve his ambitions.

For information about training opportunities with TWI visit