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SAISC launches Steel Academy

The Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) has launched a Steel Academy. "Our primary objective is to provide substantial education and training together with our traditional offerings in order to make a meaningful contribution to the skills set of our industry," says SAISC CEO Paolo Trinchero.

He adds that education and training in the deepest sense of their meaning are vital to the continued sustainability and competitiveness of not only the steel construction industry in South Africa but to all industries. "One of South Africa's biggest challenges is reversing the serious dearth of skills in industry through industries investing all they possibly can in education and training. If all industries did this with serious intent, the effect on this country as a whole, in a relatively short space of time, would be very significant," Trinchero says.

He says that the SAISC has always taken its role its role as educator seriously both locally and in neighbouring African countries where there is an increasing demand. "Our Light Steel Frame Building training in Windhoek and Namibia with five people attending from the Democratic Republic of Congo is a good example of what we see developing in the future."

From a local perspective, while there are many important educational activities undertaken by the Institute - like ongoing courses on various topics around the country which attract more than 500 people per annum, training and upskilling of workers in the industry, visiting lecturers and the drafting school on Genrec's premises - the recent taking on of two trainee civil engineering students from the Vaal University of Technology represents one of the critical areas of education that the SAISC wants to promote.

Helping students like this become employable in the industry is part of the vision of this Institute. Whether it's saving jobs by helping to protect the local industry from imports or promoting employment through education we are here for the development of the steel construction industry and of the economy generally," Trinchero says.

He adds that the Steel Academy will be all of this and a whole lot more under one education and training umbrella. "We will be adding more advanced programmes that will be overseen by industry experts with lecturing teams comprising practicing engineers with more than 30 years' experience in their relevant industries.

Examples of proposed long courses include a host of programmes relevant to the steel construction industry in the following broad categories: Business Development and Marketing; Financial Management; Legal and Contractual; Economics of Steel Design; Connection Design; Steel Bridges; Materials Handling and more.

There are also a range of short courses such as: Bending, Curving and Cambering Steel; Slinging and Erection Method Statements; Tips and Rules of Thumb for Designing Constructable Buildings; Steel Making; Steel Metallurgy and High Strength Steels.

"Of course the programmes run by our subsidiary associations, SASFA, POLASA and SAMCRA will form part and parcel of the academy. The oldest of these associations, SASFA, already has well establishes courses like: LSFB Training Course for Building Contractors; SANS 517 – Light Steel Framed Building; Cold Formed Steel Design (SANS 10162-2) and others," Trinchero says.

He adds that the lecturing approach will be hands-on in nature with personal mentoring, examples, calculations and discussions. "We want to make this fascinating field as interactive and as exciting as possible."

He adds that the SAISC is not taking a "big bang" approach to the launch of the Steel Academy. "We will start slowly by introducing the more advanced programmes and will learn from participants and lecturers comments and opinions. Slowly we will add courses and ultimately amalgamate the entire education structure under the Steel Academy umbrella. In this way we will ensure the success of what we believe will be one of the most important initiatives in South African industry," concluded Trinchero.

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