Mentorship paying it forward (and back)

by Ofentse Sefolo
Mentorship paying it forward (and back)

A young man from Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Dikaneng, got a boost in his career after GWR Roofing accepted him into the company’s on-the-job mentorship programme.
“Limited avenues for training in the roofing and carpentry sectors in South Africa impact on the talent pool that feeds the roofing industry,” says Andrew Gove, director of GWR Roofing. “Mentorship serves as a dynamic community payback as GWR Roofing releases reputable, skilled artisans and business owners back into the community. But it also comes with an automatic payback and investment for our business,” he adds.

Dikaneng has joined one of the GWR Roofing teams in a junior capacity, where he is receiving on-site training and is earning his way up the ranks. As part of this apprenticeship, theoretical content derived from Volume 1 and 2 of the Institute for Timber Construction South Africa’s (ITC-SA) Roof Erectors Handbook is taught and the ITC-SA examinations must be successfully completed. The aim is to have him running his own team on site, installing roofs and having them signed off by an ITC-SA inspector.

He is also getting training in marketing, as well as financial and operational basics, in order to gain a fundamental understanding of how a business operates.

“While there are many positives associated with private companies engaging in mentorship programmes, a formalised apprenticeship programme, with proper engagement from the public sector, is what South Africa needs,” says Gove.

“There are so many people eager to work as roofers, but a very small minority with the necessary skills and training. On an economic level, a formalised programme could serve to regulate wages in the industry, boost job creation, create more entrepreneurial activity and even secure sustainable funding for structured mentorships.”

Thanks to the ITC-SA and GWR Roofing for the information provided.

Caption main image:
Sihle Dikaneng is undergoing training in both theoretical and practical aspects of the roofing trade through GWR Roofing’s on-the-job mentorship programme.

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