Training is needed in the coatings sector, not only from a technical and pro-duction point of view but also from an application standpoint, says the South African Paint Manufacturing Association (Sapma), whose training arm, the South African Paint Industry Training Institute (Sapiti), opened the Centre of Excellence training facility in June.
“About 80% of all painting problems arise from inferior sur- face preparation and the Con-sumer Protection Act regula-tions hold a minefield of potential problems for companies using untrained staff,” Sapma executive director Deryck Spence tells Engineering News.
The training facility, which is owned by private education provider PC Training & Business College, with which Sapma and Sapiti have partnered to make use of the building, will be expanded in 2014 to include waterproofing, spray painting, corrosion and powder coatings, he notes.
“Next year, we also intend expanding training programmes to include colour tinting, inde-pendent paint laboratory ser- vices, paint application train-ing for the Department of Cor- rectional Services and the training of candidates from the departments of Social Devel-opment and Public Works,” Spence states.
The centre in Springs, on the East Rand, in Gauteng, is based at the revamped Building Industries Federation of South Africa premises and is the first industry-dedicated training centre in South Africa. It was established as a result of prolonged cooperative efforts between the coatings industry and government and has exten-sive facilities for theoretical and practical training, Spence explains.
“The centre will offer staff training, subsidised by govern-ment, to the coatings industry. This will result in improved skills for companies working in the coatings industry and facilitate increased productivity, the manufacture of higher-quality products, increased profits and, ultimately, more job opportunities and higher broad- based black economic-empower- ment score sheets,” he highlights.
The centre aims to provide technical training for about 200 trainees and handle a further 100 paint application learnerships a year. However, Spence points out that, despite previously lacking official government accreditation, Sapma/Sapiti managed to train more than 7 000 employees in the coatings industry since 1987.
The Sapiti training programmes are accredited by the Chemical Industries Edu-cation and Training Authority (Chieta) and endorsed by the departments of Labour and Higher Education and Training.
“Chieta is confident that this partnership will prove successful and make a significant contribution to the industry, as it is one of the key principles underpinning the National Industrial Policy framework and the five successive iterations of the Industrial Policy Action Plan,” says Chieta acting CEO Ayesha Itzkin.
Spence says the training facility’s first intake of paint applicators took place in July and they are currently undergoing training, which entails practical paint application in National Qualifications Framework Level 2 to 6 in technical training and business training for the retail sector, which is also open to nontechnical students.
He points out that the retail industry’s store personnel “urgently require improved levels of skills, knowledge and training”.
Spence adds that the centre will offer short, nonaccredited training for smaller retailers and paint applicators from smaller painting contractors who cannot afford to have staff away from work for longer, accredited courses.
Sapiti has more than 25 years’ experience in providing essential technical skills training for the surface coatings industry, he notes. Sapiti has revised its paint technology modules so that the training offered at the centre is in line with international standards and enables trainees to respond to government’s calls for skills expansion and job creation.
The centre also has access to the inter-nationally accredited British Coatings Feder-ation (BCF) training modules, which, Spence adds, are recognised by the internationally accredited City and Guilds of London Institute, which is accepted and respected worldwide.
The new facility will offer a 25-day fully accredited practical applications qualifications course, presented as five five-day modules. The Centre of Excellence training courses also include 11 distance-learning modules, based on the BCF distance learning modules in terms of content methodology and assessment.
He notes that, as student accommodation and kitchen amenities are available at the new centre, Sapma and Sapiti will also be able to recruit candidates from the Southern African region and the Indian Ocean islands.