A 2013 survey of South African engineers, carried out by financial services com- pany the Professional Provident Society of South Africa, showed that 43% of the engineers believe that the engineering qualifications currently on offer by tertiary institutions are inadequate.
In addition, training provider Alusani Skills & Training Network MD Imogen Tarita says there are increasing levels of unemployment among engineering graduates, owing to a lack of practical skills and experience following their graduation.
“The problem is caused by the large number of training providers who are following the trend of offering substandard training to the engineering industry through short courses,” she says.
Tarita adds that the training industry has changed significantly over the past ten years, as a large number of tertiary institutions currently offer short courses, compared with the past, when short courses were generally frowned upon by tertiary institutions.
“However, tertiary institutions realised how much money they were losing by not offering short courses, so the majority started short-course training divisions to generate quick income.”
Further, she adds that commercial training companies also regard the training industry as a vehicle through which income can be generated rapidly. This leads to the creation of training courses that are offered to the engineering industry without ensuring that they will add value to companies in the industry.
“These courses do more damage in the long term and place additional workplace training burdens on companies that have to spend even more time and money getting their people up to speed with the correct information, after they had gone through the initial inadequate training,” she explains.
Tarita says that since Alusani Skills & Training Network, which counts Aveng Grinaker-LTA, Transnet, Eskom, Murray & Roberts and Basil Read among its clients, was established in 2006, it has trained more than 15 000 people on a variety of subjects that are relevant to construction and engineering professionals.
Some of the courses include Construction Regulations 2014 Update, New Engineering Contract, Construction Claims, Finance for Engineers, Effective Construction Contract Management and Administration, Construction Estimating and Construction Contract Law, as well as Scheduling and Control for Engineering and Construction Managers.
”We spend a lot of time and effort researching and designing training courses that meet the exact training needs of industry.
“Our construction- and engineering-focused training courses are always fully booked, as companies register in numbers. We know and understand that training decision-makers are always looking for value for money, coupled with expert trainers that have current industry experience,” she explains.
Tarita says Alusani’s courses are different from others because of the calibre of trainers that the organisation uses. “Our trainers are not academics, but recognised experts and professionals who continue to work in relevant industries and who are involved in the overall engineering industry every day. Because of this, our courses are practical, with real-world case study scenarios,” she concludes.