Twenty Western Cape emerging contractors successfully completed a three-year accredited training and mentoring programme offered by the Department of Transport and Public Works. On 5 March 2019, a certificate ceremony was held in Cape Town to recognise their contribution to the programme, which is part of the provincial Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and is free to participants. It aims to equip them with the skills they need to compete effectively in the building industry.
To be considered for admission, candidates must be managing businesses classified by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) as Grade 3, 4 or 5 General Building (GB)/ Civil Engineering (CE) enterprises. Training topics include construction management, surveying, and labour-intensive methods of construction. Professional mentors work with participants to assess their individual development needs and then provide targeted assistance, e.g. pre-tendering support, on- and off-site mentoring, and enterprise development advice.
Participants are required to attend all of the training sessions, and submit all the individual assignments and class projects. Those who successfully complete the programme are given a certificate of competency. They are made aware at the start that being chosen for the programme is no guarantee of future work, and that they will not receive any special treatment if they submit bids for departmental tenders or contracts.
Every year, the programme adds value to the construction industry and plays a key role in the development of emerging contractors in the province. As a direct result of the Department’s mentoring and training, a number of contractors have advanced to a higher level on the CIDB rating scale, which means they can tender for larger and more complex contracts.
“Participating in the programme over 36 months has been worthwhile, and has improved my capacity to manage a construction business. The mentor who was assigned to me guided me to manage contracts and all the challenges that go with it. As a result, I moved from a Grade 4 to a Grade 6. What I really appreciated was the guidance in terms of calculating tender pricing and managing cash flow projections. Acquiring knowledge and getting assistance in the fields of finance and administration have been beneficial to me, my team and business,” said participant Mark Moses of Masiqhame Trading in Brackenfell. Moses and his team are currently working on a project to upgrade facilities at the Wellington Campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, among others.
“Since starting my construction company 17 years ago, I was determined to turn it into a viable venture. This opportunity, with the assistance of a mentor to guide me, really opened doors for my company. I could gain confidence in my ability to make sound decisions in the interest of my employees, and effectively manage the business operational aspects. A personal milestone for me was when I graduated with my BTech in Construction Management in 2015, which motivated me to participate in this programme starting in 2016. I am proud to have been successfully completed this programme, and today I am able to provide job opportunities for others,” says Tabita Arosi of Gcimkhaya Civil and Construction in Gugulethu.