“Training in the construction industry in the Western Cape is in good hands.” That’s the view of Themba Dlamini, CEO of the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA). He was speaking at a graduation ceremony at Boland College in Paarl, where 18 learners received certificates of completion after a year of intensive training at the college and on site. This was the first Roadworks Technicians learnership to be completed in the Western Cape.
Significantly, two of these young civil technicians are women. They had been encouraged by the Power Group to enter into the training, which was made possible through CETA and a joint initiative by Power Construction, Haw & Inglis and Tjeka Training Matters.
“The Western Cape was the first to take up the challenge of starting the learnerships,” said Dlamini. “When we launched CETA in 2000 we decided that irrespective of our differences, there was one group whose interests we would not compromise: the learners. Making [this graduation] today a reality, it is the same individuals, training providers, authorities and companies who have been with us all along. And we will walk the road as we build it.”
Narius Molato, Chairperson of CETA, said 2010 will pose a challenge to the construction industry, and that he was pleased to see that the Western Cape is taking training seriously. Addressing the newly qualified technicians, he emphasised that “graduation is just the beginning. It takes lifelong learning and development to succeed. For productivity, for quality, we need skills and resources so we can compete with the best in the world.”
CETA financed the learnerships, and also acted as quality control body to ensure that the training provider and the learners made the grade.
Morkel Stofberg, Power Construction’s Training and Development Manager, said that over the past six years about 200 civil trainees had been put through onsite training at SAFCEC member companies to find meaningful employment in the industry. “Some of them are now quite senior Technical Assistants, so the training is really bearing fruit.” He added, however, that it was only during the past two years that the formal training route had become a reality, largely through the efforts of CETA, the employer companies, accredited training providers like Tjeka and institutions of learning such as Boland College.
Private sector shows commitment
One of the highlights of the awards ceremony was the announcement that Kemach in Cape Town had made available a brand new JCB 3CX4 Sitemaster back hoe loader, which will be used by Tjeka Training Matters’ first intake of learner operators from January next year. This generous social upliftment gesture by Kemach came as a response to a request by the Power Group’s Fanie van der Westhuizen and Morkel Stofberg, who are “very aware of the dire need for trained operators in this country”.
Stofberg said that, while the figures for technical assistants were encouraging, “this industry will be in trouble if we don’t start with serious operator training. Aids and age are taking their toll and we need to fuel the industry with new blood – especially at operator level. Fortunately we have some exciting programmes running that will provide many more matriculants with opportunities to enter the industry with a formal, accredited NQF3 or NQF4 qualification.”
Ken Falkenberg of Tjeka says these learnerships “have brought a whole new dimension to the construction industry. There used to be no formal training route other than the technicons and universities. Now a whole new channel of training and opportunity has been opened.”
Helderberg inwoner Graham Power, uitvoerende hoof van die Power groep - SA se grootste nie-genoteerde konstruksiegroep - is aan die einde van verlede maand aangewys as Die Burger en die Kaapstad Sakekamer se Sakeleier van die Jaar.
Tydens die glansgeleentheid in Kaapstad is 'n eretoekenning aan oudpresident FW de Klerk gemaak vir sy bydrae tot die ontwikkeling van die land en die Wes-Kaap se ekonomie.
Power het sy konstruksieonderneming 22 jaar gelede - met een bakkie en drie werkers - in Sir Lowry's Pas begin. Vandag staan hy aan die hoof van 12 maatskappye - vier van hulle swart bemagtigings firmas - wat nie net by gebouekonstruksie betrokke is nie, maar ook siviele ingenieurswese, dam en kanaal-konstruksie, gholfbaan-infrastruktuur, behuisingsprojekte en padbouwerk. Dit is vandag die grootste nie-genoteerde konstruksiegroep in SA.
Die Power groep se hoofkantoor is in Blackheath, Kaapstad en daar is verder kantore in Knysna, Port Elizabeth en Gauteng.
Onder die projekte waarby die maatskappye betrokke is, sluit in die N2 Gateway-projek van R3 miljard wat die bou van 22 000 huise binne 18 maande langs die N2 en in Distrik Ses behels. In Knysna was die greop een van dié verantwoordelik vir die Thesens Island-ontwikkeling.
In die Helderberg was die Power groep betrokke by die bou van laekostebehuising in Broadlands Park, die ontwikkeling van die Firlands Farmstall en die herstel van die teeroppervlak oor die Sir Lowry's Pass.
In 'n onderhoud met Die Burger kort na hy sy toekenning ontvang het, beskryf die koerant hom as baie positief oor die toekoms.
"Met die regering se vasbeslotenheid om al meer aan infrastruktuurontwikkeling te bestee, is die groep danksy sy bemagtigingsvennootskappe geposisioineer om goed voordeel te trek uit die verwagte groei," lui die berig.
Vanjaar verwag die groep om baie na aan 'n omset van R1-miljard te kom - aansienlik meer as die R300 000 omset wat sy maatskappy vir die eerste keer in 1983 vermag het.
Die groep het vandag 1 700 werknemers, waarvan 900 permanent is.