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Floor installation training infiltrates schools

by Tania Wannenburg
Belgotex Training infiltrates schools Jnl 3 16

Out of school employment opportunities created by Training Academy.

Belgotex Floors Academy covers basic and advanced installation training on Duraturf Grass, Carpeting, Luxury Vinyl Tiles, Vinyl Composite Tiles, Homogeneous & Heterogeneous Vinyl, Cushion Vinyl, technical sales training as well as measuring, estimating and costing training across the various product categories offered by Belgotex Floors.

In 2008, Belgotex Floors Academy took the academy beyond the boundaries of the trade and introduced informal carpet installation at Van Kervel School in George for students with barriers to learning. In 2013 De Grendal School in Cape Town was added and in 2014, Randeor school in Johannesburg and in 2016 Daeraad School in Wolmerranstad.

All of these schools will teach the NQF 1(National qualification for the installation of floor coverings – carpeting) formally as from 2016, of which 2016 will be a “trial/learning year for the schools. As from 2017 the NQF 1 program will be presented by the schools over a two year period where all the CETA criteria will be followed and log books kept for future reference. Once these students have completed their schooling, they will complete their practical training working in the installation fraternity and qualify via the CETA RPL process leaving school.

FLOORS in Africa had the opportunity to speak with all three schools at a recent gathering at Belgotex Floors’ office in Johannesburg. During this gathering, they discussed the CETA/academy’s training structure and material, what can be expected going forward as well as the positive growth each school has experienced thus far. The service provider used for this programme is Frans Toua from Tjeka.

An underlying theme from the conversations with the principles of the schools that has been involved in the informal training program, is that the academy’s training structure has literally changed student’s lives and created employment opportunities that were not always afforded to those with learning disabilities, or even those who come from less privileged upbringings.

“The challenge with Randeor students has always been to find them employment once they leave school, especially due to their Special Educational Needs (LSEN) background,” explains André Raath. “We ensure our students truly understand the value of hard work at school, and through the academy, we are able to provide them with a more optimistic future. In fact, these students probably have a better chance at a career than someone with just a matric.”

Van Kervel School, referred to as a school of skills, offers an alternative to mainstream education. “The Belgotex Floors Academy course forms part of the maintenance skills offered at school,” says Hendrik Koegelenberg. “Utilising the skills they have acquired through the Belgotex Floors Academy informal course, these students are placed with the contracting fraternity during the year on a school to work process to gain practical experience. The students have made very good impressions on these companies, with many of the companies offering the students employment after they completed their schooling.

Today, the school is in a position where it is attracting new learners as a result of the floorcoverings course on offer, an impressive feat. “What makes this course so unique is that it also helps to retain good quality students and discourages them from leaving the installation program as they see a future in floorcovering installation,” emphasises Allan de Wit, Technical Support Manager at Belgotex Floors.

According to both Abel Rudman and Elna Swanepoel from Daeraad School in Wolmarranstad, a school for girls with 108 pupils, these students often suffer from low self-esteem, and through the Belgotex Floors Academy course, they are able to achieve something significant which in turn provides them with a renewed sense of hope for their future.

As already noted, job opportunities prevail for those students who have completed the necessary floorcovering course and gained practical work experience, especially as the industry is in dire need of skilled workers. “60% of our learners have acquired jobs within two months of leaving school and graduating,” states Hendrik. “The more skills we teach, the more opportunities these learners will have.”

André adds that the success of these courses is directly determined by the school itself and the enthusiasm of the teacher who will present the subject. Considering that there is a severe shortage of LSEN (Learners from Special Education Needs) schools in the country, these principles are doing a magnificent job in ensuring the successful implementation of the Belgotex floorcovering course in these schools.

“A SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) certification means something to these learners and industry alike,” continues Hendrik. “When these learners get onto their hands and knees and carry out a task, they often outperform seasoned installers. When they are taught the correct techniques using the right tools, you inevitably ensure a more efficient installer, which will have a positive impact on the flooring industry.”

Reflecting on what Belgotex Floors Academy has achieved Abel notes that they have reached their goal of upskilling the industry by approaching schools. “As a result of this training, more qualified installers are currently working in the flooring industry,” he says.

“We would like to thank Belgotex Floors Academy for the work they are doing, for their passion and dedication,” concludes André. “They bare all the costs, and because of them, we are able to instil hope and excitement into the minds and hearts of our learners, who excel beyond what many thought, was possible.”

It’s Belgotex Floors Academy’s vision going forward to continue training students through these schools, to upskill them and provide them with career opportunities, thereby reducing the number of unemployed young adults in the country. In this manner they also play an active role in introducing trained installers to the flooring industry – a goal the Academy continues to strive towards on a daily basis.

“Belgotex Floors endeavours at all times to uplift the flooring industry through various forms of training and so create sustainability within the industry,” concludes Allan de Wit, Technical Support Manager at Belgotex Floors.

For more information contact Allan on 082 561 6072 or allan.dewit@belgotex.co.za | www.belgotexfloors.co.za

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