An initiative to train youth installers is helping to transform South Africa’s construction industry.
The project, hosted by Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA) and a private company Primador, provides critical skills for youth development and potential job creation opportunities, along the flat glass manufacturing value chain.
Ms Saritha Hattingh the Primador Chief Operations Officer, came up with the nobel idea after realising that the industry had a serious shortage of qualified installers.
The PG Group Training Centre under Geraldine Hewitt and Anne Arnold developed the programme’s curriculum. Primador, which is a member of the PG Group made an initial contribution of R3.5 Million while CHIETA sponsored R756 000 worth of stipends under the Strategic Funding window for Youth Development programme.
“Besides the skills that the learners obtain, the personal growth in each individual is amazing,” Anne Arnold said. “They learn that their future should not be defined by their circumstances. “They can make it different and they do. Given half a chance, our youth can and will do amazing things for themselves, their families and their communities.”
As part of the training, leaners complete a six to eight weeks theoretical training programme at the PG Smart Glass Academy in Midrand. The curriculum is guided by their Construction Regulations Act and the courses include Health and Safety, First Aid, Firefighting and Working at Heights.
It also includes an overview of the Construction Regulations Act and the AAAMSA/SAGI Building Glass regulations. The soft skills that the learners need are Understanding Business, Customer Service and Workplace Professionalism. On technical skills, the learners have to complete theory on E-Learning, classroom activities and practical training in a simulated workshop.
In addition, the learners are trained on how to handle Small Hand Tools, Putty Glazing, Glass Cutting and Snapping as well as the installation of a range of pre-assembled aluminium windows, patio doors, stack doors, framed and frameless showers and shower doors. “Learners are then partnered with their host company, which exposes them to a variety of fields within the construction sector,” Anne added.
“Learners are managed by the facilitator from the PG SmartGlass Academy who coaches and guides learners until they are ready for summative assessments. “The SmartGlass Academy facilitator, assessor and mentor is Mr Lourens Olivier, who has over 20 years’ experience in this field.” The programme started off with 25 Installer Learners in March 2017 and 21 completed the training so far.
According to Anne, the programme has a bright future provided enough funding is secured. Of the 21 learners who completed the programme, 20 were offered opportunities of permanent employment. 14 learners have embarked on the Installer Programme project for 2018. “As this programme is based on Host Company funding opportunities, they can only take what they can afford,” she said.
“The cost per learner is R56 000, excluding tools and PPE, which is about R8000 in additional costs.“ Anne said efforts were being made to secure additional funding from outside the PG Group. Applications for the programme are opened between August and September every year for the following year’s intake. Prospective learners submit their curriculum vitae to the PG Group Training Centre administrator and those who are selected undergo a stringent recruitment process. Successful candidates begin their training in February/March the following year, Arnold said