MBAWC looks to address construction skills shortage

03 September 2015

“There is a persistent shortage of construction skills in South Africa,” says Allen Bodill, executive director of the Master Builders Association Western Cape (MBAWC).

To meet the needs of the sector, the MBAWC, a registered trade association for employers in the building industry, offers a wide-ranging programme of training. This includes basic skills acquisition courses, apprenticeship initiatives, a cadet education programme, the upskilling of construction supervisors and frequently held seminars for members on the latest industry developments.

Group Skills facilitator, Tony Keal, says, “In the Western Cape a large percentage of people working in the industry either have very basic literacy and numeracy skills or none at all. We offer our members’ employees a variety of basic skills courses such as construction carpentry, basic bricklaying, scaffold erection, scaffold inspection, waterproofing and painting.

Training is provided based on demand for particular skills by our members who only pay for the employee’s wages while we finance the full training costs. Certificates of competence are issued upon completion of a course – equipping the employee with a marketable skill.”

Apprenticeships are the MBAWC’s core training offering. “There are two ways in which we run our apprenticeships,” explains Keal.” The one is member driven, while the other is orchestrated by the MBAWC.”
The MBAWC’s three-year cadet education programme, based on teachings from the British Construction Industry Training Board, is geared towards the development of future foremen/construction supervisors.

To boost skills in construction employees, the MBAWC has devised a 12-module programme run as and when required by members, who put forward candidates. On completion of a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate their understanding of what has been taught, the aspirant supervisors are issued with a certificate.

The organisation also awards hundreds of thousands of rands in bursaries to students each year, covering their tuition fees. These are awarded to 2nd year students who are employees of, or related to, MBAWC members and who undertake built environment studies at tertiary institutions.

“A highly skilled workforce is absolutely indispensable to a contractor trying to deliver quality buildings in a safe, timeous and cost-effective manner,” concludes Bodill.


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