Master Builders South Africa tackles the shortage of skills in construction

Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) hosted an industry-wide Construction Sector Skills Development Colloquium on 08 March 2018, at the offices of the Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal in Durban.

The event was convened to outline a clear education-to-employment roadmap for careers in the built environment as well as to identify role players, challenges and solutions in that roadmap. It was attended by key industry stakeholders involved in various skills initiatives to address the shortage of skills in the industry including representatives of labour, employers, educators and regulators.

Speaking on the need for such a broader discussion of the issue of construction skills development in the opening speech, the Chairperson of the MBSA Education and Training Committee Ms Vikashnee Harbhajan, made reference to the 4th Industrial Revolution and how it is projected to re-shape careers in the next few years. She emphasised the need to consolidate industry skills initiatives and ensure that they are aligned to changes in construction and related technologies.

Represented at the event were the Construction Industry Development Board, Construction Education Training Authority, Master Builders Associations of the North, KZN, Free State, Boland and Eastern Cape, South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors, the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations, the National Business Initiative, the German Development Cooperation as well as representatives of colleges, universities and construction companies that are involved in skills development in the built environment.

Key outcomes included the need for better co-ordinated career guidance programmes aimed at learners in basic education in order to have construction related careers as first-choice pursuits, promoting a culture of workplace integrated learning and providing more support to employers who take on learners, heightening industry collaboration with municipalities to facilitate artisan training as well as developing a structured mentorship approach for SMME development.

The event also saw the launch of a unique partnership between MBSA and PPC Cement, where PPC undertook to contributing towards a skills fund established by MBSA to create skills capacity within the federation. PPC Cement made a pledge to ensure that a portion of the revenue generated from bulk cement purchases directly from PPC, will be channelled towards MBSA skills development programmes for the benefit of the industry at large and in particular, employers in the building industry. The Programme will run until December 2018.

MBSA members were encouraged to support this unique initiative through cement purchases from PPC.

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