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Supervisors’ course for steel construction industry

Owing to the dire need to train supervisors in the steel construction industry the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) is developing a supervisor training programme. This will be officially launched in the second quarter of 2011.

Executive director of the SAISC, Dr Hennie de Clercq, says there is a definite void in the steel construction industry with regards to supervisory skills mainly as a result of poor training. "Traditionally in our industry people have had to learn by themselves picking up whatever they can while on the job. At best they have been ‘trained’ by people who, in turn, have also not been properly trained and it is this cycle of potential incompetence that we want to put an end to," says de Clercq.

He adds that because the steel construction industry finds itself in a situation where there has not been a tradition of specialised training in this field, it needs to go back to scratch, as it were, and analyse fundamentally what it is that people have to know to function in a particular job of supervising." We have to understand what constitutes quality, productivity and other vital attributes that make up the job and then devise ways of most effectively transforming that information into a formal body of knowledge, says de Clercq. "In essence it is a question of formalising a knowledge-set which currently lives in an informal and disjointed format in peoples’ minds.”

De Clercq says that the course will emphasise the training of inspectors to better understand general quality and what constitutes excellent workmanship. "In short we want supervisors in the steel construction industry to become more like their colleagues in the welding industry, where a good knowledge exists as to what constitutes right and wrong.”

“One of the pitfalls of the current situation in our industry is that often aesthetic appearance is mistaken for real quality in terms of fitness for purpose. So, for example, we find that a workman can spend endless hours polishing steel not because it makes it any stronger or improves its intrinsic quality in any way, but because it gives the inspector a ‘warm’ feeling to see that every blemish, important or not, is removed.”

"There are certainly times when steel must be aesthetic, such as when it is easily visible to the public, but most of the time it just needs to perform its function effectively and we require people in the industry who understand this distinction very well.”

"There is no doubt that with improved training of first-line managers and inspectors, the efficiency of the entire fabrication process will improve, saving the industry significant sums of money," concluded de Clercq.

Download the curriculum below.

Download: Supervisor's Course Curriculum

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