Hillary Construction places road construction training in the fast lane

25 August 2020

Hillary Construction continues to invest into quality training with a specific focus on developing vibrant and long careers in the civil-engineering construction sector.

Notably, the lion’s share of young South Africans who have been given the opportunity to participate in the company’s “Gap Year” initiative are from previously marginalised areas of the country, with a significant focus of the training also geared at attracting more women into the civil-engineering construction industry.

The programme was launched in 2017 as a pilot project by the, Human Resource Development Department of Hillary Construction. It was initially aimed at attracting enterprising matriculants to the civil-engineering construction sector and has since been extended to include N6 civil-engineering interns who need to complete 18 months of workplace training to complete their National Diplomas.

The most promising individuals are awarded bursaries by Hillary Construction to study for a Civil-Engineering Degree or Diploma. As many as 18 of the just under 50 candidates who have participated in this initiative thus far are now furthering their education at universities or Technikons.

An additional 12 individuals recently started their four-month-long training at Tjeka Training Matters’ state-of-the-art training and trade-testing facility in Randfontein as part of this year’s Gap Year programme. Notably, eight individuals from this group are women who, once they have completed their theoretical training, will be deployed on Hillary Construction sites for practical training

Tjeka Training Matters has been providing the road-construction training on behalf of Hillary Construction since the launch of the initiative.

Hillary Construction continues to place significant credence on training, which continues to provide a return-on-investment. Hillary Construction has retained Tjeka Training Matters as its preferred training provider considering the very high quality of its road-construction training which, the contractor says, “remains unrivalled”. This is evidenced by the feedback it continues to receive from the learners who have participated in the programme, backed by their solid performance on our road-construction projects. Importantly, Tjeka Training Matters is a registered private technical vocational education training (TVET) college that provides training that is accredited by the Construction Education Training Authority.

Frans Toua, Chief Executive Officer of Tjeka Training Matters, lauds the high quality of learners that the 20-year-old TVET college has received from this client over the years.

“Their learners are very enthusiastic and ambitious. Certainly, this has made a great contribution towards the overall success of the training service that we continue to provide this leading civil-engineering contractor,” Toua says.

Candidates apply for the training by submitting their CVs to Hillary Construction via its website.

Importantly, they must have maths and science at matric level with an average pass mark of 50% and be willing to undergo a psychometric evaluation to measure their mental capabilities and behavioural style, as well as their suitability for the road-construction industry.

The elective component of the 12 month-long National Certificate in Road Construction Works NQF3 learnership covers road maintenance, layer works, bitumen surfacing, stormwater drainage, culverts and kerbing. These are complemented by the core units, namely engineering drawings, quality and production, in addition to health and safety.

Certainly, keeping the young learners motivated is also key to the success of Tjeka Training Matters’ training.

They receive mentorship and coaching from an experienced team of trainers. It includes Solly Mqhamkana with support from Ronnie Jacobs, Operations Manager of Tjeka Training Matters’ Randfontein facility.

“They listen to you and make sure that you understand right from the word go. The training has been fantastic, and I am excited to continue learning more about my chosen field,” Patrick Semenya says.

The 27-year-old Semenya is participating in the initiative to gain the 18-month practical training he needs to complete his National Diploma in Civil Engineering. This is an important first step taken towards achieving his goal of enrolling for a degree as a civil engineer and later registering with the Engineering Council of South Africa as a professional.

One of the highlights of the training for him thus far has been the installation of precast-concrete stormwater pipes and he is now also looking very forward to helping to repair potholes in the area as part of his practical component of his learnership. “The more you learn, the more you will be able to master. I have an enquiring mind that wants to learn as much as possible about civil engineering, especially road construction,” he says.

Meanwhile, Geraldine Rademeyer is following closely in her brother, Ignatias’, footsteps. Ignatias is now studying for a degree in civil engineering at the University of Pretoria having received a full bursary from Hillary Construction based on his stellar performance in the 2018 Gap Year programme, including completing his learnership at Tjeka Training  Matters with flying colours.

“I know that I can do it because my brother did it. This is despite me being a woman that is very excited about working in an industry that has long been dominated by males,” says Rademeyer, who is 19 years of age and recently completed her matric, which included technical subjects.

She says that she has already learnt a lot from Tjeka Training Matters and is looking forward to completing her learnership and working one of Hillary Construction’s current projects.

Like Semenya, she praises the quality of the training that she has received from the TVET college.

Toua concludes by noting that he is proud of Tjeka Training Matters’ long track record working with this prominent road construction contractor.

“Hillary Construction continues to show that it takes training very seriously. Its approach transcends merely contributing towards the scorecard, with many young South Africans having been afforded a well-deserved opportunity to start careers in an exciting industry by participating in the Gap Year programme.”

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