Nonprofit paint industry body the South African Paint Manufacturing Association (Sapma) plans to start erecting new premises for its training arm, the South African Paint Industry Training Institute (Sapiti) next month. The new training centre is being constructed on Sapma’s premises in Bedfordview, Johannesburg.
Sapma executive director Deryck Spence tells Engineering News that Sapiti will provide multifaceted practical training in coatings technology in a specially designed laboratory fitted with equipment to match the Sapiti curriculum, which is based on the internationally respected British Coatings Federation training modules.
Moreover, the institute will offer technical tuition at advanced levels, as well as an introductory course for nontechnical industry staff to improve their coatings knowledge. It will also house an interactive videoconferencing studio to provide remote coatings training for the retail sector.
Spence further notes that the centre’s training programmes are accredited by local statutory body the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (Chieta) and endorsed by the departments of Labour and Higher Education and Training. It will also contain extensive facilities for theoretical and practical training.
Government-funded quality organisation the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), established in 2010 in terms of the Skills Development Act, notified Sapma last month that its coatings and technology course has been accredited.
The QCTO oversees the design, implementation, assessment and certification of occupational qualifications in the paint industry.
“In addition to the QCTO accreditation, we now have to strive for quality accreditation for Sapiti, so the new training centre will be designed and prepared to comply with all the QCTO requirements,” explains Spence.
Considering Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande’s keynote address at the Coatings for Africa Conference, which took place at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg, from May 11 to 13, as well as Chieta’s attendance at the event, Sapma facilitated a special indaba between the two bodies on June 29.
Some of the issues that were highlighted at the indaba included not awarding tenders unless workers have had training beforehand and are adequately skilled to meet the job requirements, and contractors supplying their painters’ proof of qualification, as well as the concept of interactive video training.
Meanwhile, Spence notes that there is significant demand for skills and education development in the industry. Sapma trains 200 students a year enrolled for its fully accredited coatings technology course. It also runs a manufacturing course for the preparation of raw materials for manufacturing, and for labelling and packaging, for NQF levels 1 and 2. The course is usually presented by trainers on site.
“Practical training is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry,” says Spence, adding that 86% of all paint failures are a result of poor preparation and an incorrect diagnosis of the substrate.
Further, he highlights the National Infrastructure Plan as the industry’s biggest potential for growth. He notes that Sapma is involved in government’s special integrated projects, or Sips, programme, as there are not enough trained and skilled people to assist in progressing the infrastructure plan.