Ambitious young H&S officers ready to help make building sites safer

Trained by the Master Builders Association Western Cape (MBAWC) and Tjeka Training Matters, six young South African recently secured employment as Health & Safety (H&S) officers with MBAWC member companies.

They now hold a National Certificate in Construction H&S and are registered with the South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP).

These individuals were part of a group of nine unemployed youth, the majority comprising women, who were chosen by the association to undergo training to become H&S officers.

Notably, this is the second group of candidates to have successfully completed a MBSAWC learnership in H&S and to register with the SACPCMP.

Letitia van Rensburg, a MBAWC Training Officer, attributes the high success rate of the association’s training programmes to the careful selection of unemployed individuals to train for careers in construction.

“Firstly, people who apply directly or who are referred to us by individuals or member companies must have completed their Grade 12 with or without Maths and Science as subjects. They then undergo a psychometric assessment to determine their suitability for a career in Construction H&S based on their intellectual capabilities and personality traits. This is followed by an in-depth interview with the respective candidates as part of a thorough approach that contributes towards a positive outcome,” Van Rensburg says.

Tjeka Training Matters has remained the MBAWC’s preferred training provider for the past 10 years.

This is considering the high competency levels of all its training practitioners, including Andre Jacobs and Priscilla Ncokazi, who mentored this group of learners from March 2019 to October 2020.

“Tjeka Training Matters has specialised in providing construction training for the past 20 years. As built-environment professionals, their trainers have an in-depth knowledge of construction that they can share with learners. They are also extremely hands-on to fluently guide the students through their training. Its team definitely embodies the role of a mentor which, if done correctly, offers life and career-changing benefits,” she says.

Being a privately registered Technical and Vocational Education and Training college that is accredited by the Construction Education Training Authority, Tjeka Training Matters is also extremely flexible and able to accommodate MBSAWC’s training schedules.

Gawie Burger, Tjeka Training Matters’ Southern Region Manager, says, “We are proud to have assisted MBSAWC help more enterprising young South African launch careers in the construction sector. It was an absolute pleasure working with another group of enthusiastic learners, as well as representatives of the MBSAWC-affiliated companies where they completed their experiential learning.”

Notably, MBSAWC also has a very high success rate in terms of placing candidates once they have successfully completed their training. This is considering its strong membership base, which comprises about 400 companies, and the very high quality of its training programmes.

For example, all the learners spent a few weeks working in the various trades on member company’s sites to gain a solid understanding of sound construction practices before they commenced their training. They, as custodians of sound H&S practices, will be able apply this intimate knowledge in their respective roles that, importantly, entails guiding other workers in safe construction practices to mitigate risk.

While she lauds government for its focus on infrastructure to kick-start the economy following the aftermath of the outbreak of the Covid-19,  Van Rensburg believes that more will have to be done to ensure a steady pipeline of projects to help build a robust construction industry.

“Unfortunately, the industry was already in dire straights before the Covid-19 lockdown was implemented to contain the spread of the virus. The fallout has severely exacerbated the situation. It is now critical that both the public and private sectors work together to find workable solutions to help grow a robust industry that can contribute towards employment, as well as skills training and development,” she concludes.