For many Grade 12 learners, the stress of writing their matric exams is heightened by having to pick a career path to pursue once they complete their schooling. This can be daunting due to the common fear that their decision will restrict them to a particular occupation for the rest of their lives.
One industry that offers an array of opportunities for career experimentation is construction.
“Occupations in the construction industry can be split into those requiring either soft or hard skills,” says Tony Keal, Group Skills Facilitator at the Master Builders Association of the Western Cape (MBAWC). “Soft skills include architecture, engineering, quantity surveying and project management. Hard skills on the other hand comprise bricklaying, plastering, plumbing, carpentry, tiling, painting, roofing, crane operating and electrical work.”
He continues: “It’s the acquisition of hard skills that allows for the exploration of multiple career options. What’s more, not only do construction companies snap those with these skills up, but certain trades, such as plumbing, painting, roofing and electrical work, enable people to become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses.
There is also a worldwide demand for these kinds of skills with tradespeople like electricians and plumbers earning more than doctors and lawyers in some countries.”
To help young people obtain hard skills and enter the industry, the MBAWC offers apprenticeship programmes that expose them to all facets of building work. Those who have completed Grade 12 and have passed Maths literacy with at least 30% are eligible for application.
In addition to funding the apprentices’ training at an institution and placing them with member companies where they can put their theoretical knowledge into practice, the MBAWC pays them a wage as determined by the Building Industry Collective Agreement. After two years of theoretical and experiential training, the apprentices take a trade test and, on passing, are awarded a national technical certificate. This registers them competent as an artisan and is applicable anywhere in the world.
To apply for an apprenticeship or for more information, visit http://mbawc.org.za.