FLOORS in Africa magazine’s Director, Liezel van der Merwe, and Kwanele Nomoyi, Building and Décor Digital Manager, attended the launch of the Academy on 4 December 2018. The launch took place at Belgotex’s 6-star Green Star Rated factory in Pietermaritzburg and delegates from the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) and other government departments, together with flooring contractors, suppliers, and learners from the schools flooring program attended the event.

The Academy has recently been awarded CETA accreditation and been given financial support to assist with the course costs. Annikie Phuti, Qualifications Development Manager at CETA, addressed attendees at the launch. She was accompanied by Xolani Mtshali, CETA’s coordinator in KwaZulu-Natal.

Allan de Wit, Liezel van der Merwe, Annikie Phuti, Mr Mtshali and Pasi Muzvidziwa

The Academy’s history
CarpetPro was registered in 1999, a programme born out of a need for installing top quality flooring. In 2008 it was updated to Belgotex Floorcoverings Academy, which took training even further to infiltrate untapped areas of need and create a larger scope of future employment.

In 2012/2013 Belgotex developed the full Installation of Carpeting learnership (NQF1) with Sparrows FET College. Five courses were done through Sparrows putting out 120 learners. Learnerships were also offered in various cities over the 2016/2018 period. Two in Cape Town, one in Durban and one in Port Elizabeth through Tjeka. This saw 60 leaners go through the program. This was also realised through the introduction of an informal carpet installation programme at Van Kervel School in George in 2007, specifically for students with learning disabilities.

In 2013, De Grendal School in Cape Town was added and in 2014, Randeor school in Johannesburg, and Daeraad School in Wolmarandsstad. All these schools have been providing installation training for floorcoverings on an informal basis. In 2015, the name was amended to Belgotex Floors Academy and on 4 December 2018, the Belogtex Academy was renamed ACADEMY (a Belgotex Initiative). The name change has come about as they want to supply training for the flooring industry as a whole, covering all flooring types, and not just Belgotex products.

The Academy covers basic and advanced installation training. Allan de Wit, Technical Support Manager of the Belgotex comments: “The Academy has evolved to cover comprehensive technical, installation and sales training in carpeting, vinyl and wood laminate flooring. From measuring, estimating and costing programmes to informal installation training programmes in Schools of Skills, we are doing everything we can to not only improve the quality of flooring installations in South Africa, but to tap into areas of need and create larger scopes for future employment. We are in the process of developing more schools in Western Cape and Gauteng, where students will be taught floor covering installation.

We will be running 6-week short skills course for carpeting focusing on the enhancement of hand skills. The CETA accredited Carpet Installation Course is the first program to ever be presented in any schools in the country. For this Belgotex received an award in 2017. The first kicked off in George (14 January to 22 February). This will be followed by a Johannesburg course starting 4 March. Going forward, the Academy will be offering a 6-week CETA accredited vinyl installation course, as well as a wood laminates course presented by SAWLFA.”

In addition to this, numerous one or two day courses will also be presented, these will not carry CETA accreditation. Advanced Carpet Installation, Measuring, Estimating and Costing. Advance vinyl installation and Wood Laminate Installation done by SWAFLA.

During the short skill courses the students are also exposed to life skills course such as “Me + My Money” and “Poverty Stoplight”.

Allan is passionate about the Academy and his vision is to ensure that it is a fully-fledged floors training facility by the end of 2019.

“The Academy will register as a trade school during 2019. It will be open every day, providing training to aspiring and experienced flooring installers,” says Allan.

Uplifting the standard of flooring installations in South Africa
Flooring installers today are expected to be multi-skilled. They should be able to install everything from carpets and vinyl to rubber and grass. There is therefore a big expectation on installers to perform to very high standards.

“We need to develop current and new installers to ensure the sustainability of our industry, as they are the key to our success. Our goal is to make sure that flooring installations are done to world-class standards,” concludes Allan.

Liezel said that she is proud of what the Academy has achieved over the years and that the financial support, as well as the new CETA accreditation, is well-deserved.

Providing employment opportunities for disadvantaged people
“The Belgotex Academy has registered and sponsored so many students with the Construction SETA and into the NQF 1 programme. They are making a real difference in the lives of South Africans by giving them work experience through the floorcovering/carpet installation fraternity. Besides this, the quality of flooring installations in South Africa has improved tremendously as a direct result of their efforts. FLOORS in Africa magazine, WALLS&ROOFS magazine and the entire Building and Décor digital team want to congratulate Allan and the rest of the Belgotex team on their efforts and achievements,” says Liezel.

For more information, contact Belgotex on +27 (33) 897 7500, Allan (082) 561-6072 or Lynn (082) 784-4664 or via email on academy@belgotex.co.za.

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