Since the introduction of sealing products manufacturer KLINGER Mzansi’s training academy in 2017, the company has received continuous enquiries from companies about the learnership programme offered at the academy.
“Our customers have enquired regarding sending their staff members for correct gasket use, gasket installation, bolt torqueing and bolt tensioning,” says KLINGER Mzansi human resources director Yvonne Maduna.
Customers include crude oil refinery Shell and BP South African Petroleum Refineries (Sapref), chemicals and energy group Sasol, refinery National Petroleum Refiners of South Africa (Natref), State-owned power utility Eskom, State-owned oil company Petrosa, multi-disciplinary construction and engineering group Grinaker LTA, to mention but a few.
“We have followed up each enquiry and have already trained many technicians and engineers with theory and practical courses when requested,” she says.
In addition, Maduna explains that the learnership programme is a combination of integrity training and an introductory course on all the company’s products. The aim of the programme is to contribute towards skills development and increase the company’s points on the black economic-empowerment scorecard.
Since the launch of the academy, about five learners have been absorbed into the company. Each learner to have completed Mechanical Pipe Fitting National Qualifications Framework level 3 and 4 is a qualified bolt technician.
Qualifying learners are well rounded and prepared to apply for a National Apprenticeship in various fields such as boilermaking, pipe fitting (scarce skill), welding, among others.
The qualification was designed to enable qualifying learners to move from one engineering context to another and still get recognition for successful learning achievements in various contexts. Credit accumulation towards certification could be obtained across industries, says Maduna.
She says the company has conducted preshutdown training for bolting, leak-free startup, joint integrity and correct gasket installation at the academy.
These aspects are relevant to the sealing industry because they contribute towards the improvement of the mechanical joint integrity of mechanical bolted joints on site, and eliminate volatile organic compound emissions and environmental contamination.
Knowledge of the various gaskets and the medium used enables the correct one to be fitted and provides better sealing qualities and improves health, safety and the environment.
This ensures that when a gasket or packing is fitted correctly it lasts longer and saves the company unnecessary replacement and downtime.
Owing to the programme being over two years, the company plans on a new intake of 15 learners in 2020, as the Level 4 qualifications will be finalised only at the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Maduna explains that, following the company’s first intake in 2017, there was a delay in its acquiring accreditation from the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Merseta).
The delay was caused by miscommunication between Merseta and the company on whether learners were to be accredited after each level (from Level 1 to 4), as opposed to acquiring accreditation only after completing a Level 4 qualification.
KLINGER Mzansi achieved accreditation for the Level 4 qualification this year.
The company will improve the programme by having better communication with Merseta and will also aim to place learners in companies where they can pursue their careers in that field.
Maduna encourages other companies in the sector to follow suit and open similar academies.