In response to the need for a properly skilled workforce in South Africa, the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (Saisc) is in the process of launching a steel academy to provide the necessary training within the industry, says institution CEO Paolo Trinchero.
“With the academy, we plan to offer substantial education and training to make a meaningful contribution to the skills set of our industry,” he says.
Trinchero adds that education and training are important to the continued sustainability and competitiveness of not only the steel construction industry but also all industries.
“One of South Africa’s biggest challenges is reversing the serious dearth of skills through industries investing all they possibly can in education and training,” he says, adding that if all industries invested in training with serious intent, the effect on the country, as a whole, “in a relatively short space of time”, would be significant.
Saisc has always taken its role as educator seriously both locally and in neighbouring countries, where there is an increasing demand for its training, says Trinchero.
“Our light steel frame building training conducted in Windhoek, Namibia, with five people also attending from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a good example of how the demand for our training could be growing in future.”
Recently, Saisc took in two trainee civil engineering students from the Vaal University of Technology to be equipped with on-the-job industry skills “as part of our quest to empower the overall workforce with critical relevant skills”.
The plan is to include theoretical and practical training under one umbrella in the steel academy. “We will be adding more advanced programmes that will be overseen by industry experts with lecturing teams comprising practising engineers with more than 30 years’ experience in their relevant industries,” explains Trinchero.
Examples of proposed long courses include programmes relevant to the steel construction industry in broad categories such as business development and marketing, financial management, economics of steel design, connection design, steel bridges and materials handling.
There are also a range of short courses, such as bending, curving and cambering steel; slinging and erection method statements; tips and rules of thumb for designing constructable buildings; steelmaking; steel metallurgy; and high strength steels.
Trinchero says training programmes run by Saisc’s subsidiary associations, such as the Southern African Light Steel Frame Building Association, the Power Line Association of South Africa and the Southern African Metal Cladding and Roofing Association, will form part of the academy’s curriculum.