19 February 2020

According to the
recently released Quarterly Labour Force Survey by Statistics SA,
40.1% of people between the ages of 15-34 were not in employment, education or
training in Q4 2019, highlighting the fact that skills development is more
important than ever.  Amid positive job
creation news, it is now especially vital for the construction industry
to adapt to advancing standards and adequately train the emerging workforce.

The construction
industry currently contributes 8.3% to total
employment numbers and has shown a positive uptick in job opportunities
according to the recently released Career Junction Index – which revealed a notable increase in hiring
activity in the construction and building sector.

The opportunities for
small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), or subcontractors, have been
growing over the past 20 years, especially as large contractors subcontract out
the majority of their work, with their main aim being to ensure the employment
of site supervision to manage risks, quality and productivity.

However, SMMEs in the
building sector often do not have the continuous workload required to place
young people on apprenticeships. In addition, due to the casualisation of
labour, small businesses also cannot sustain employment over long periods.

As such, it is great to
see that in the past year, many Centres of Specialisation have been established
in the hope that many more young people strive to become artisans of the

The Department of
Higher Education, through the Quality Council for Trades & Occupations
(QCTOs), has also embarked on developing Skills Programmes. These skills
programmes often are not scoped by experts in the industry but by instructors
from technical and vocational education and
training (TVET) colleges. Once published, these skills programmes will
become part-qualifications. This system suits the Collective Agreement as our
T4, T3 and T2 will be formally recognised.

We are proud that the
Master Builders Association in the Western Cape (MBAWC) has a Skills &
Education Trust that runs free courses for those already involved in or wishing
to enter the construction industry. These skills programmes assist with growing
the workforce in the construction industry. The Trust will issue a certificate
of receipt of donation and these receipts are recognised by all South African
National Accreditation System (SANAS) approved verification agencies.

Another advancement for
growing access to higher education in South Africa is the new Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE)
Codes of Good Practice amendments which came into effect in December 2019. The
amendments have introduced a new scorecard indicator whereby employers can now
provide bursaries for tertiary education to students and claim points. We urge
any corporates in the industry who are able to provide this opportunity to
please do so.

order for the construction industry to survive and thrive it is vital to invest
in the future workforce by way of upskilling and continued learning. It is
important to note that ongoing training should be considered a Key Performance
Area for each site.  If the variety of construction enterprises make every
workplace a training area, we will see an improvement in quality and
productivity. The MBAWC suggests that each business sends at least one
supervisor on a mentorship programme in 2020.

As an industry, it is necessary for members to take up
the role of being leaders in training Construction Supervisors, Health &
Safety Officers and Apprentices, as well as upskill their workforce through
numerous short skills programmes. 


Emma Rijkers

E: [email protected]

T: 021 680 5044 | 076 706 8603


The Master Builders and Allied Trades’ Association of the Western Cape
is a registered trade association for employers in the building industry. Its
membership comprises some 400 companies in the Western Cape, most of whom are
either builders, building subcontractors, building merchants or manufacturers
of building products. The Association was founded in 1891 and is the oldest
organisation of its kind in South Africa. It is affiliated to the Master
Builders South Africa (MBSA), but is totally autonomous.

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