South African plastics industry body Plastics SA will introduce its new Polymer-compound Manufacturing learnership at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining Southern Africa’s (IOM3 SA’s) gathering in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, next month.
Plastics SA KwaZulu-Natal regional training manager Suzanne Stevens notes that the programme was launched in Johannesburg in March this year and will be launched to the KwaZulu-Natal rubber industry following the IOM3 SA gathering.
The learnership programme involves a series of skills programmes conducted over one year, where learners are taught polymer-compound manufacturing, mixing, extruding, compression and injection moulding and bonding techniques. Other skills programmes offered by Plastics SA include fundamentals of communication, mathematics, basic financial skills and workplace safety.
Stevens notes that Plastics SA’s Injection-moulding Overview for Managers, Injection-moulding Fault-finding, as well as Plastics Materials and Processes programmes, have been reviewed and approved for continuous professional development (CPD) points by Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa).
“There is a verification process where Cesa inspects the content, presenters and processes, as well as the duration and relevance of a training programme to the engineering profession before it is certified as a CPD programme,” she explains. “We hope that this will be an attractive benefit for our customers.”
Plastics SA also recently launched a three-day Thermoplastic Welding Inspection programme, which “covers plastics and the different fabrication methods of plastic, such as butt-welding, socket and electric fusion, hot-air extrusion and solvent welding”, says Stevens, adding that the programme focuses on the inspection of fabricated welded joints.
“Pipe welding needs to be carried out to stringent specifications and the final product needs to be inspected for safety and construction-standard complicity.”
Stevens highlights that companies with a qualified thermoplastic welding inspector will improve their professional image, credibility and quality systems.
“When companies tender for a project, these qualifications can often be the difference between whether a company is awarded a tender or not,” she adds, noting that Plastics SA is an accredited training provider with the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority.
She adds that, while Plastics SA represents the plastics industry, it offers training that adds value and attracts companies from other industries, such as the steel, automotive and dairy industries.
“The plastics industry is very diverse. We offer training to multinational companies and small to medium-sized enterprises in a range of industries, each with their own specific training needs.
“Companies are increasingly looking for customised skills programmes, as our customers often face time constraints. They require us to be flexible and come up with innovative solutions and ways of scheduling programmes differently. We are, therefore, looking at incorporating companies’ own practices to develop unique, customised training programmes,” Stevens says.
She notes that, in 2012, Plastics SA had 86 learners enrolled on learnership programmes within KwaZulu-Natal alone. Currently, the number of learners on learnerships stands at about 60 and Plastics SA expects that to grow to 90 during the course of this year.