The Flooring Industry Training Association (FITA) currently facilitates National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 1 National Certificate: Installation of Floor Coverings training and also aims to offer improved training for new and existing flooring installers, aligned with the new Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) model, by June next year.
The FITA was established in 2013 to function as an industry body for the flooring industry in South Africa and is working with the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) in developing course content for the training. “The level of installation skills in the flooring industry is declining as there is no adequate, formally recognised qualification or training programme that allows a fitter to develop a career path in the industry,” says FITA chairperson Tandy Coleman.
“In accordance with new legislation coming into effect in March 2018, the FITA will facilitate nationally recognised certification based on the new QCTO model when the NQF model falls away. “This will upskill and ensure a career path for fitters in not only flooring installation but also business skills development. “The idea is to add value to the individual, the community and the flooring industry holistically.” FITA course advancement levels will be measured according to the QCTO model, which requires every industry to have a full register of trained artisans.
The CETA is funding the development of the course outline and material. “The CETA supports our initiative to create a new pool of talent for flooring installations that conforms to a uniform set of skills across the industry,” says Coleman.
The process of developing the training scope and content could take up to 18 months, says Coleman, adding that development progress depends on the availability of industry experts who contribute to course content.
The course content will comprise comprehensive theoretical and practical classroom training. This will be developed by a panel of experts in the industry and vetted by the industry as a whole.
“It is important to have theoretical knowledge about flooring types and the associated care and maintenance, as well as the practical aspects of floor fitting and installation.”
The training courses will be presented by CETA-accredited education and training providers on behalf of the FITA.
She notes that, for installers who have experience in flooring installation, there is a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme to assess skills levels and compliance with the standard that the current NQF model requires and, which, in future, will be assessed against the new QCTO model.
These artisans who achieve RPL certification, will receive their certification without additional training. The new model will offer the option to upskill in specific modules, such as vinyl or carpeting, for example.
Coleman says a lack of skills becomes apparent when clients complain about on-site flooring installations. Using a FITA member for installation will ensure an industry-approved standard of work.
“In February, the FITA became a member of the Certified Floorcovering Installers (CFI) Association of America. This gives the FITA access to the CFI training too. This access to international training material could add value when developing our course material,” she concludes.