Skills building crucial in wire, rope, sling and chain industry

14th September 2012 By: Yolandi Booyens

The demand for skills in the wire, rope, sling and chain industry is strong and companies are increasingly realising the importance of ensuring that workers at all levels receive higher education, says adult education provider Triple E director Paula Whitaker.

She adds, however, that the skills shortage in this industry is less pressing than in other sectors, such as manufacturing.

“Like most sectors, the wire, rope, sling and chain industry comprises repetitive work and, therefore, the need for high-level education is not always emphasised at lower levels,” she notes.

However, companies are showing ongoing and increasing interest in upgrading workers’ skills to increase productivity.

Whitaker adds that Triple E has maintained its student numbers of between 8 000 and 9 000 students a year, which she believes proves companies’ commitment to ensuring that workers receive further education.

“Our core business for 21 years has been adult education and training,” she says.

Triple E provides business-solutions- orientated courses ranging from a basic literacy to National Qualifications Framework Level 4 courses in English, maths and business skills.

“The majority of our learners have had schooling but want to upgrade their skills or redo maths and science at school level to cope with business demands,” Whitaker explains.

However, there are still workers across all industries with no educational background and Triple E can provide them with a basic education.

Although some workers may not be stationed in office environments where maths and English skills are used daily, gaining skills, especially maths skills, is crucial in problem solving, Whitaker points out.

“Applied maths is the most widely used skill across all industries, including those that use manual labour, where workers need to understand patterns and sequences, as well as solve problems on a daily basis.”

She adds that Triple E also provides customised programmes on demand.


Triple E has trained more than 5 000 learners since 2008 for steel and mining company ArcelorMittal South Africa by means of its Rapid Effective Accelerated Life Long Learning (REALLL) programme.

The company launched its REALLL programme in 2005 and will launch an improved version of the programme in 2013.

“This is an accelerated advanced English and maths programme, which provides the foundation for every possible training course across all industries. It can also be completed by matriculants who want to do a bridging course for university entrance.

“It enables learners to complete learnerships at lower levels or enter into higher education and training,” says Whitaker.

She adds that Triple E revises all its programmes every year, as it has to keep abreast of changes in technology, business trends and South African legislation, as well as keep to meet the requirements of the sector education and training authorities.”