Jobs and water security

Mokolo Crocodile Water Augmentation project

Mokolo Crocodile Water Augmentation Project, South Africa

Mokolo Crocodile Water Augmentation Project (MCWAP)

In order to meet South Africa’s future energy needs, utilisation of the Waterberg coal fields in the Limpopo province, South Africa, is expected to increase tenfold over the next 20 years.

The expansions in this area, which include a power station and possible large coal to liquid fuel plant in the near vicinity, have resulted in drastically increased water requirements which necessitated a massive bulk water supply project. The two phase MCWAP project includes delivering a pump station, over 200 kilometres of pipelines and an abstraction weir, all of which require creating significant supplementary infrastructure.  Aurecon is a key member of the Joint Venture (JV) providing consulting services to the project client, Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA).

Skills development was included formally at the start of this project, with skills development and training a contractual requirement for staff seconded by the client to the project JV and for limited JV project staff. During the currency of the contract, the JV decided to extend skills development to include all project staff and prior to commencement of construction to formalise the process.

The project team set out to devise an effective skills development programme that delivered maximum output in terms of the formal requirements, while imposing the minimum pressure on an already stretched project team by engaging a dedicated resource.

“In addition to formal training, we took a joint decision to also involve the clever integration of skills development tasks with everyday tasks so that the programme could be run in parallel with ‘business as usual’ engineering,” explains Van Langelaar.

“Mentoring is being achieved by pairing more experienced staff with junior staff so that lessons learned by experienced staff are shared with staff who would otherwise not have come into contact with this level of experience.

“The importance of establishing the success of transfer of knowledge was recognised and is being implemented by means of formal monitoring and reporting on training and coaching processes and skills development. This prioritised skills development as an actual task, and not merely a ‘nice-to-have’.”

In addition to on-the-job learning, formal training is undertaken for which learning material and presentations have been developed.

“Realising that the type of support material we required for this programme didn’t exist, we took a decision to engage a training consultant to facilitate the development of learning material and training of construction supervision team members,” he says.

Aurecon’s South African Value Education business unit was employed to tackle this challenge. They were tasked with assisting with assessing training required, facilitating the development of targeted training material with input from senior project team members across the JV firms, and eventually facilitating and presenting the material to the supervision team.

Van Langelaar concludes that: “It has been refreshing to work with a client who understands the value of skills development and supports and encourages the initiative.”

Read the full 360º magazine on Major Projects.