Valve company Invincible Valves is in the final stages of completing its new training facility on-site at the company’s factory in Knights, in Germiston.
Although not yet completed, the facility is already operational and has registered 12 employees for three training courses, which include basic valves, control valves and working with valves training, from the online-based valves training programme offered by the South African Valve and Actuator Manufacturers Association (Savama).
Construction of the facility started in November last year and it will assist employees by providing computers to access the training material and for Invincible Valves’ operations director Michael Gomes, among others, to present practical training for employees.
The company runs a roster to keep track of employee training, which must total about six hours a week.
Invincible Valves MD Pam du Plessis notes that employees receive a certificate of attendance after the training, which can take from six weeks for basic skills, such as testing actuators, to six months for advanced skills, such as how actuators are made. The company will be looking to get accreditation from a tertiary academic institution later.
In addition to the training course, the company offers internships. Currently, there are two candidates from Reiger Park Technical High School studying as boiler makers. Such candidates are brought up to an acceptable Adult Basic Education and Training (Abet) level followed by the Savama courses available, as well as hands on training throughout the workshop environment.
There is also an office administrator intern who is being exposed to the full day to day function of the business, covering all aspects from reception, administration, debtors, creditors and the sales office.
“Before the end of the year, we will put competitions in place to determine suitable candidates for a bursary sponsorship towards engineering studies for one year at a technical college or university as well as hands-on experience in the workplace,” notes Du Plessis, adding that the company prides itself in uplifting people within the business and from the local community.
She also plans to present Harvard academic standard business training from July to give all employees insight into efficient business practices.
Invincible Valves’ main focus and priority is on training. “Knowledge is power. By empowering our employees, we are empowering our business. It is a process of hear, see, touch and understand to generate.”
For entry-level employees, the company offers Abet training, which improves employees’ basic numeracy and literacy to National Qualifications Framework level one.
Many employees within the company have moved up the ranks from entry-level employees to team leaders. Du Plessis says it is vital to drive employees to understand the concepts of all the products and create a passion for the business aspects as well.
“There is a definite lack of knowledge in the valves industry owing to an aging talent pool. We’ve adopted a new management system where all factory areas are segmented to team leaders, who lead a maximum of five employees,” explains Du Plessis.
This, she notes is an easier way to determine where skills are lacking and how training can be adapted to those needs on a more individual level, compared to one manager overseeing thirty employees across the entire factory.
“Our aim is to set a benchmark for training in the valves industry, especially as a small to medium-sized business, to show other valves manufacturers and assemblers the value of education and training in the industry.”
Invincible Valves was established in 1982 as a supplier and repair service provider of fluid control valves.
The company specialised in rubber linings, fittings and pipes and also fits pneumatic, hydraulic and electrical actuators, chain wheels and proximity switches to valves.
“We offer a comprehensive range of local and imported valves and accessories for the mining, petrochemicals, power generation, iron and steel, and water and sewage industries,” notes Du Plessis.
Invincible Valves’ team offers repair services on worn and damaged valves, which happens over time owing to corrosion. “Malfunctioning valves can lead to problems such as increased maintenance costs or overall insufficient plant operations, but with expertise and comprehensive facilities, we offer simpler solutions for failed valves.”
She concludes that the company also has a fully equipped rubber lining division which increases the lifespan of working valves and protects the body material from the medium flowing through it.