Saint-Gobain Construction Products Academy
The Technical and Specifications Department runs a MERSETA-approved academy, which is the country's forerunner in product training. It presents an annual learnership programme, various short courses, continuing professional development programmes and a technical development programme through three training centres in Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal and the Western Cape.
The eight-month learnership programme (National Certificate: Metal and Engineering Processes) provides education and work experience in basic drywall, ceiling and insulation installation at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 2. This is equivalent to a grade 10 school qualification. The academy also presents an eight-month learnership programme that enables learners to gain experience in the erection of steel frame housing to NQF Level 3, which is equivalent to grade 11.
These exceptional opportunities are offered to unemployed individuals who are carefully selected according to criteria such as health, technical ability or experience, communicative competence, values and attitude, and the results of an aptitude assessment. Numerous academy graduates are now full-time employees at contracting businesses.
There are also a number of skilled graduates who have followed the entrepreneurial path and built up their own customer bases. Short courses comprise of a series of modules aimed at improving the skills of current contractors, by educating them on the practical installation ofSaint-GobainSouth Africa's "basket" of products and systems. Each module take up to five days to complete, and topics include drywall installation, insulation benefits, tiling application, suspended ceiling installation, plaster application and residential ceiling installation.
All practitioners in the field of architecture are legally required to renew their registration with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession every five years. To ensure practitioners remain competent and up to date with the latest developments in architecture, one of the requirements for registration is the attendance of prescribed Continuous Professional Development activities.Saint-GobainSouth Africahas developed three introductory modules for this purpose, which are specifically tailored to the architectural industry, namely plasterboard application (Gyproc); energy efficiency (Isover); and specification considerations for tile adhesives (Weber/Tylon).
Saint-Gobain's Technical Development Programme (TDP) aims to develop technical understanding and the ability to deliver technical solution selling in the relevant market contexts. This is an intensive and challenging programme, which starts with an introduction to specific technical training on building structures, fire protection, acoustics and solution selling.
Besides equipping sales and marketing teams with the necessary skills and knowledge to be market leaders, the programme aims to build confidence, motivate staff and expand their knowledge and experience, as well as enable them to "know what they sell", and not just to "sell what they know".