Several initiatives have been launched to further train or develop unskilled and unemployed individuals through the Fluor Training Centre (FTC), in Secunda, Mpumulanga.
The FTC, which was established on site and moved to its current location in 1991, introduced a series of skills development programmes that provide clear interpretations of industry requirements regarding qualified craft versus competent and certified craft skills.
“Fluor South Africa also awarded bursaries to seven candidates from Marietjie School, a local school in Secunda, last year and are training them as single-coded welders,” says Green, adding that the programme includes a practical and theoretical component.
The bursary programme was launched in November last year.
“On completion of the institutional portion of the training programme, the candidates will perform a single-code welding assessment. Once both the institutional and in-service sections have been successfully completed, candidates will receive an inverter welding machine and toolbox with the tools and equipment required for this skill level,” she says.
Green adds that Fluor partners with other local training providers to enable cross-pollination and ensure that quality standards are adhered to. “This partnership, where candidates are trained at one facility and their practical skills trade tested at another, addresses some of the critical challenges relating to high-risk skills, quality standards and safety,” she explains.
Green notes that the company played a key role in facilitating the stakeholder participation involved in developing the National Qualification Frame- work qualification for pipe- fitting, which strengthened the justification for seeing to it that pipe-fitting became a recognised trade.
“The FTC offers training through an integrated approach to welding, rigging, mechani- cal fitting and boilermaking at various levels under the scope of our accreditation and fields of expertise. The training provider and decentralised trade test centre comply with Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority, Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority and Services Seta regulations,” she says.
Green points out that this integrated approach to training and development allows the company to focus on and direct training initiatives at various skills levels.
She states that a training industry that is committed to addressing skills shortages in South Africa needs to be established, but adds that this should be done within the limitations and cycles in which it operates.
“Large companies that require craft in their numbers also require these skills in a mix of various levels, from general labouring to qualified craft. A person should be able to map a career path and develop in a way that would enable him or her to find gainful employment on projects during the training process, which, in turn, accommodates the industry cycles and allows for multiple entry- and exit-level employees,” she says.
Green adds that the stipulated on-the-job training period does not always allow for this, as the cycles of work do not always match this.
“In the interim, skills short- ages and unemployment are increasing and competent craftsmen are in short supply.
“Therefore, we have developed the building-blocks programme, which allows for shorter training programmes and, as a result, shorter in-service training expo- sure. This enables candidates to develop over time and to provide industry with the skills at the required level, while ensur- ing that industry members are continuously developed,” she explains.
Green further notes that the building-blocks programme addresses the mismatch between the educational levels of the unemployed and entry-level requirements.