The Flooring Industry Training Association (FITA) held its Annual General Meeting on 11 April 2019. Three speakers addressed attendees, namely Tandy Coleman, Chairperson of FITA, Neil Duncan, Director and Corporate Governance of FITA and Motshwane Phuti, Manager: Quality Development Unit and Project Lead: Establishment of the CETA Academy.
FITA is the professional body representing the full flooring industry in South Africa. Its mandate is to be the official facilitator for accredited training and to keep a national register of flooring installers, soon to become legislated in SA.
According to Coleman, FITA has prioritised certain floor types to begin writing of course material, as soon as CETA appoints their accredited contractor to write the material. “The new course offers training in 13 floor types, however, we have agreed with the Construction Education Training Authority (CETA) to prioritise the development of course material for carpet, ceramics, laminates, vinyl and wood,” she explains. “FITA and CETA will engage with experts in these floor types to ensure that the course material is developed in line with the scoping document as well as the latest installation practices.”
Neil Duncan was recently awarded an Honorary Membership of Master Builders Association (MBA) North and is an extraordinary asset to the FITA Board for his commitment to skills and development. He mentioned that the Department of Higher Education wants to implement a National Register of Artisans. This information can be found in the Skills Development Act: National Register of Artisans Regulations. Amendment at https://www.gov.za/documents/skills-development-act-national-register-artisans-regulations-amendment-16-nov-2018-0000.
There is a likelihood that professional bodies will carry this responsibility in their sector of the market, as opposed to it all being managed by government. If this is the case, membership of a professional body will become mandatory and all flooring installers will be required to register.
According to Phuti, it was at the request of CETA that an industry body be formed so that CETA has a single point of reference for engaging with the flooring industry. The decision to establish FITA was taken with full support and approval of government, South African Flooring manufacturers, stakeholders and contractors. CETA has given FITA access to discretionary grants (over R10mil to date) which have enabled FITA to offer Recognition of Prior Learning assessments and learnerships at no cost to installers and potential installers using approx. 6mil to date.
Developing new training material
“CETA also committed to funding the development of new training material since the course material currently registered with SAQA is outdated,” says Phuti. “FITA is also recognised as a CETA partner and as such, is invited to participate with CETA in relevant industry projects. For example, CETA is developing a 5-year plan to boost SMME business in the informal sector of construction. FITA was part of the planning of that strategy and participated in a SMME conference to assist with the scoping of this industry plan.”
When questioned about what the future holds for FITA and CETA, Phuti highlights that this partnership and other relevant stakeholders in the industry will embark on the development of Flooring Learning Material aligned to the new flooring curriculum that was developed by CETA.
How FITA benefits installers, contractors and specifiers:
Currently, flooring isn’t an attractive career and skilled installers are at retirement age. By creating an education path, someone entering flooring will be able to obtain skills and build a career. They will have the means to improve their skills set and, in the case of existing installers, gain recognition for their existing skills.
Being a FITA accredited company employing FITA accredited installers, is a differentiator that could sway a decision in a tender situation. FITA has access to the data base of registered fitters and can assist contractors with finding new employees or accrediting existing installers in the industry as well as the opportunity to receive free training and accreditation for their installers.
Manufacturers and specifiers
The cost of poor installations continues to have a financial impact on manufacturers and distributors. FITA acts as the watchdog and offers recourse where there previously was none. FITA will investigate complaints and facilitate training as a corrective measure. FITA will lobby manufacturers and distributors to recommend that only FITA designated installers be used and intends to leverage change by targeting a marketing campaign at specifiers and architects, informing them that tenders can stipulate FITA registered and designated installers be used. FITA holds great value for this audience since they are looking for ways to guarantee workmanship for the end customer.
For more information, contact FITASA on +27 (11) 792 1749 or via the website: www.fitasa.co.za.
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