13 April 2011 - When municipalities in the Cape Winelands Region launched a Construction Road Works Learnership programme (NQF Level 2) for employees working in their roads and storm water departments, South African Value Education (SAVE) was an obvious choice for the role of training provider.
SAVE, a business unit of Aurecon, specialises in the training and development of emerging entrepreneurs and people working in the construction industry, including hands-on entrepreneurial, technical and life-skills interventions. “What SAVE aims to offer are real solutions to improving the quality of education in the construction industry. We train and equip students and entrepreneurs with both theoretical and practical knowledge to ensure that they are up to the task of meeting the demands of today’s workplace,” explains project coordinator Rinus van Raaij, who led the team of training and assessment practitioners from SAVE.
Involving 62 learners, the main objective of the programme was to develop the technical and construction skills of these employees. “During the course of the programme, the emphasis was not only on the presentation of the relevant training material, but also on tailoring our methods of presentation in order to guide each learner to meet the requirements of the specific outcomes of the programme,” explains van Raaij. A dual approach to the training was taken, involving theoretical classes at training place sites, as well as practical demonstrations and real-life practicals at workplace sites across the region. In addition, the assessor arranged special workplace assessment sessions with the learners and the assessments were, as far as possible, conducted in the learner’s workplace during actual workplace activities.
The municipalities involved in the programme included the Cape Winelands District Municipality, Witzenberg Municipality, Breede Valley Municipality, Langeberg Municipality, Drakenstein Municipality and Stellenbosch Municipality, calling for careful coordination of a multitude of training place and workplace sites.
“The 62 learners were divided into three groups and we attempted to conduct the training in monthly phases of one theoretical training session per group per week,” explains van Raaij. He goes on to say that “The purpose of the periods between the theoretical classroom phases was to give adequate time for the learners to receive workplace experience and exposure with regards to the theoretical aspects they were trained in. Nineteen training phases were completed from the start of the programme till completion.”
In addition to both theoretical and practical training, the programme included First Aid training by ER24. “The result of this was that the successful learners were not only declared competent in Unit Standard 9965, but they also received ER24 certificates and are now qualified first aiders for a period of two years,” says van Raaij.
All the learners have since been registered on the National Learners’ Records Database (NLRD) through the Construction SETA (CETA) Student Management System and will receive certificates from CETA shortly. “Ultimately, this training programme will improve municipal service delivery, especially with regard to quality assurance in road construction and maintenance operations,” explains van Raaij. “However, the greatest impact the programme will have is to assist the learners to achieve their best. Armed with an accredited qualification, the learners are positioned to enjoy a better future and career path opportunities, with some having already been promoted.”