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Techniskills re-accredited for training

  • marimac 

Techniskills in Cape Town was first accredited in 2008 and was recently re-accredited for a third cycle, this time under the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) banner until 2023.

Techniskills is based in Montague Gardens and was founded in 2008 with primary accreditation through merSETA. At that time, the accreditation was used in conjunction with a Further Education and Training college (now called Technical, Vocational, Education and Training colleges) as it suited the requirements of all parties.

In 2009, it became evident that the refrigeration trade was not going to receive the funds, focus and attention it deserved, explains Geoff Hobbs of Techniskills. “Industry had become disillusioned with state of the facilities and lack of growth and investment.”

A meeting was requested and Hobbs met with a few of the larger role players in the HVAC&R industry, who gave the assurance that if sufficient investment and commitment was shown by Techniskills with regards to constructive programmes, personal input and definite relationships forged, that they industry would support Techniskills (or United Controls and Air-conditioning as it is formally known) with trainees.

Suitable premises (central and convenient) were located in Station Road, Montague Gardens and investment in the building began without any external investment other than a small loan from one organisation and input from all partners both on the logistic and legal aspects to ensure compliance from the outset.

In January 2010, the first refrigeration course commenced with six candidates and the team has not looked back.

The short courses, all unit standard aligned, were expanded to both the mechanical and electrical aspects. merSETA accreditation for the facility was successfully attained both at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) levels as well as for a Decentralised Trade Testing centre.

South African Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SARACCA) as well as the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) accreditation has also been in place since then.

“The key to our success has been the ongoing personal relationships with companies, taking the interest s of the company as well as then the individual into consideration, thus building the existing workforce, rather than relying of private individuals,” explains Hobbs. The other key component is in understanding the requirements of the primary accrediting authority in terms of the Nation Skills Development Strategy targets and not simply running short courses, which carry no benefit to all parties.

Interestingly, after completing a course with John Ackermann in 1994, Hobbs ran the first actual safe handling certifications under Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Council of South Africa (ACRICSA) in 2001. This was for Trane who wanted to send two candidates off to the United Arab Emirates, requiring the certification. This was but the beginning … and since then, they maintain a data base of 1 400 files pertaining to the 2009 Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER), used as required for investigations.

Since 2009, 150 learners have completed registered learnerships through Techniskills at NQF 2 and NQF 3 levels and many have progressed from there to their trade test. These interventions form the cornerstone of their annual training calendar, with the shorter interventions running as required, depending on industry demand.

“By means of portfolio-based training, we are able to look well past short courses to the establishment of long-term relationships with company and value loyalty as well as confidentiality as key,” says Hobbs.

Techniskills currently has more than 250 organisations using their services.

With the new re-accreditation, it’s all systems go for the future of this training institute in Cape Town.