The Southern African Readymix Association (Sarma) has warned cement and concrete industry stakeholders that some unaccredited organisations are running cement and concrete training and courses, disseminating unvetted information that could be harmful to the industry.
Sarma published an article in March emphasising that, while these courses are not illegal, the information being taught could have a negative effect on the quality of materials being produced.
“Industry bodies, such as The Concrete Institute (TCI), the Concrete Society of South Africa and Sarma, as well as local universities and institutions associated with concrete, are the entities that should be supported by those seeking training – not only because they are going to give you a better product, but also because trainees receive a certificate once they complete a course, which is a credible document in the concrete industry,” says John Roxburgh, a lecturer at the School of Concrete Technology (SCT), which is run by TCI.
He tells Engineering News that the SCT prioritises staying at the forefront of concrete technology and continuously upgrades its courses accordingly. “Moreover, the school is privileged to be able to draw on the input of local concrete technologists to add value to the technical content of its courses.”
Roxburgh adds that SCT has, for example, created courses specifically for the various levels of education and skills typically required on a South African construction site or in local concrete-related industries.
The SCT Level 10 course, for example, is an introduction to concrete and is suitable for clerks of works, construction team leaders, junior technicians and sales staff, as well as anyone wanting a short but detailed introduction to concrete.
The SCT Level 20 courses – aimed at more senior foremen, clerks of works, technicians, sales and engineering staff – build on the concepts and foundations laid down in the Level 10 courses.
Further, the SCT Level 30 Concrete Technology courses are more intensive and designed for civil and structural engineers or highly experienced technicians, sales managers and building contractors.
Roxburgh says South African companies stand to gain immediate benefits from sending staff to SCT courses. “Their staff members will return with a thorough knowledge of concrete concepts, the most up-to-date best concrete practices, the latest concrete trends and leading-edge technologies.”
These are all designed to help staff make meaningful impacts when they return to work. Some of the more obvious benefits would be an increase in concrete quality, higher production rates and manufacturing the concrete “right the first time”. Another benefit is that workers will gain a more comprehensive understanding of clients’ needs. These benefits all give a company substantial economic advantage, explains Roxburgh.
SCT lectures for the South African industry and strongly believes in promoting the concrete industry in South Africa.