Quality training paves the way forward for construction SMMEs

The improvement of a 27,5km portion of Section 2 of the R510 from Bierspruit to Thabazimbi created hundreds of new construction jobs when the project peaked. This is in addition to the many local small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) who have been appointed to work alongside and received quality training in various road construction trades from principal contractor, Raubex.

Tjeka Training Matters was again appointed by this leading infrastructure development group to train construction workers and SMMEs on its behalf.

To date, Tjeka Training Matters has trained SMMEs in the installation of open-lined V drains; precast-concrete kerbs and concrete channels; subsoil drains; gabions; and guardrails. About 60 people – around 12 individuals per course – have already benefited from the training. These are short courses of between eight and five days in duration. Comprising both theoretical and practical training, they are designed to have an impact by imparting sound road-building knowledge quickly and efficiently. Upon completion of the training, individuals receive a certificate from Tjeka Training Matters that confirms that they are competent in their fields.

Bernard Vos, Site Manager of Raubex, says that the overall workmanship of the various SMMEs attests to the quality of training that they have received from Tjeka Training Matters. “Our sub-contractors are productive, efficient and accurate workers who have played a large part in the success that we have achieved on this project thus far. However, investing in quality training has also empowered many people with important road construction knowledge that will enable them to participate in more of these projects moving forward. Certainly, we will also harness these skills again for future road construction projects in the vicinity if available, while also making skills development and training opportunities accessible to more SMMEs in the area,” Vos says.

SMMEs and employees were recruited via the Project Liaison Committee (PLC), nominated by the Thabazimbi Local Municipality. In doing so, the PLC worked closely with Mpho Dijane, Raubex’s Community Development Facilitator. Dijane undertook the skills audit analysis, as well as identified work packages for the various SMMEs and gaps in proficiencies that would need to be addressed via quality training.

He is also impressed with the overall performance of the SMMEs. “Equipped with the correct knowledge, our sub-contracting teams have been improving steadily. This is both in terms of productivity and quality of workmanship. Understandably, there will be issues here and there that need to be addressed, but they have been minor and far and few between. This is part of the learning experience for SMMEs and comes with our role as a mentor, which we take very seriously” Dijane says.

SANRAL Contract R.510-020-2016/1 For the Improvement of National Route R.510 is now approximately 90% complete and on track to be handed over to the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) in mid-March 2024. By then, 30% of the contract value will have been spent on targeted enterprises and 8% on local labour. This is in line with SANRAL’s focus on ensuring that all of its road construction projects benefit surrounding communities via employment, as well as skills development and training opportunities.

The work being undertaken to this section of the R510 will improve road safety and provide shorter travelling times. Working alongside Royal HaskoningDHV, the consulting engineer, Raubex is widening the existing carriageway and providing surfaced shoulders and passing lanes. This is in addition to strengthening the existing pavement and improving drainage. Moreover, the construction company is upgrading intersections and lengthening existing minor and major structures where necessary.

Both Dijane and Vos have nurtured a long professional relationship with Tjeka Training Matters. Considering Raubex’s intense focus on skills development and training across the group and its worksites, they value the high quality of Tjeka Training Matters’ civil-engineering construction training. The company also ensures that its training pertains to the project, taking into consideration typical challenges that SMMEs will encounter on the worksite. This focus includes imparting knowledge of the typical health and safety risks that are present so that precautionary measures can be undertaken.

Frans Toua, CEO of Tjeka Training Matters, says that the company is proud to be associated with one of the country’s foremost road construction companies. “Raubex’s projects go beyond delivering top-notch road infrastructure that forms the backbone of our economy. Our client’s focus on providing the best training opportunities to participants in its projects is also equipping individuals with quality skills that will enable them to grow and develop. This is also driving up quality across the industry. Considering the company’s large national footprint, it is also extending access to quality skills development and training in the road construction industry,” Toua concludes.