• Plumber

ARTISAN DEVELOPMENT

Plumbing industry endorses In-Company Mentor Training Programme

Jul 23rd, 2021

The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) recently endorsed the updated incompany mentor training programme. According to Training Manager Nick Joubert IOPSA formally approved the training programme for their members and in addition, the Professional Institute of Registered Plumbers (PIRB) awarded this training programme eight Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points for plumbing professionals registered with the PIRB.

It has been consistently acknowledged that a structured learning process at the workplace makes a significant contribution to the employability of graduates of dual occupational training programmes.

This is important as apprentices spend up to 70% of the training period at the workplace. It is compulsory for companies to provide in-company mentors for these purposes. Mentors at companylevel must be familiar with the key features of dual occupation training programmes as well as understand the value of integrating knowledge, practical skills, and workplace experience.

The training of in-company mentors to facilitate the transfer of learning at the workplace has not received sufficient attention over recent years. Experience in apprentice programmes shows that corporate employers often have the capacity to manage the mentoring of apprentices, but in contrast, smaller or medium-sized host companies often lack the understanding and capacity of how to organise structured learning in the workplace, and in so doing provide mentorship to apprentices.

The updates to the In-Company Mentor programme were developed in collaboration with various stakeholders and in particular industry organisations such as IOPSA to address these gaps.

Established in 1989, IOPSA has become the recognised voice of the South African plumbing industry. "The organisation felt it is important to support the development and recognition of the training programme because it would add value for their members in that it would significantly improve workplace mentoring; one of the building blocks of continuous improvement" commented Joubert.

It is based on similar international programmes but contextualised for the South African world of work. The content, implementation and assessment were piloted by a group of industry representatives that are Master Trainers of the programme, before it was offered as a training programme to mentors in industry.

The training programme is implemented using a blended learning approach consisting of both an elearning component, utilising a platform that was created for this purpose, as well as contact sessions conducted in compliance with Covid-19 regulations. This means the training programme is accessible and doesnt interfere with production or company operations, and is currently available free of charge to in-company mentors as well as to college staff in the Centres of Specialisation (COS) programme.

After successfully completing the programme candidates will receive certificates endorsed by industry associations such as IOPSA, as well as by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Joubert recommends the programme to any incompany mentor (or prospective mentor) as well as to TVET personnel who are involved in occupational training programmes conducted in partnership with companies.
IOPSA would also urge other industry associations to recommend this programme thereby improving the standard of mentor training, and in the process improve the standard of artisan training in South Africa.

GIZs Skills Development for a Green Economy (SD4GE) Technical Advisor, Louwrens Coetzer, indicated that the success of dual occupational training, hinges quite substantially on having well capacitated personnel both in the colleges as well as in companies.

Source: TVET College Times

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