Provides vital training role

Education and training continue to be one of the cornerstones of the construction industry, ensuring that the necessary skills are available at all levels. To support this, the Cement and Concrete Institute’s School of Concrete Technology (SCT) offers a wide range of courses specialising in concrete-related subjects. These courses cover the very basics to the more advanced subjects such as reinforced concrete and pre-stressed concrete design.

History

The School of Concrete Technology (SCT) is now more than 45 years old. It was started by the Concrete Society of Southern Africa and later adopted by the Portland Cement Institute (PCI), which became the Cement and Concrete Institute in 1996.

In those early days, seminars and courses were presented when the need arose. Training programmes were offered in conjunction with the Civil Engineering Industries Training Board, and the first courses were designed principally for foremen. These proved to be very popular and, in 1975, a course for site engineers was introduced, soon followed by special one-day courses covering subjects such as epoxies, repairs, admixtures and pumping.

Current

Today, the school offers 19 different courses throughout the year, not only at its well-equipped premises in Midrand, but also at other venues in the main centres of South Africa. It offers adult learners a range of scheduled commercial courses from a basic Readymix Truck Drivers course to the Advanced Concrete Technology Diploma Course run under the auspices of the UK’s Institute of Concrete Technology.

There is a Correspondence Course Concrete Technology and Construction (run under licence to City and Guilds of London International) which is ideal for people working far from urban centres who want internationally recognised qualification. This course is fully NQF-accredited in South Africa by virtue of the fact that it is also UK accredited.

For built environment professionals who have an interest in specifying and controlling concrete construction, there is the Concrete Technology for Engineers Course.

Another option for clients is to direct the content of any course to meet their own unique requirements. These courses can be scheduled anywhere in southern Africa by mutual agreement.

The Advanced Concrete Technology (ACT) diploma, the flagship course offered by the SCT, will be presented once again in 2010. The ACT course enjoys world-wide acceptance as the leading qualification in concrete technology and is examined by the UK based Institute of Concrete Technology (ICT). The ICT is a Professional Affiliate Body of the UK Engineering Council and it promotes concrete technology as a recognised engineering discipline. It also sets high educational standards and requires its members to abide by a code of Professional Conduct, thus enhancing the profession of concrete technology.

The course covers some 75 topics, and the qualification would prove to be an asset for companies involved in structural engineering, materials supply, construction management, maintenance and mining.

The school is currently the only organisation in the world to host a residential-based ACT course. In the UK, the course is now only available by correspondence learning via the internet.

The future

The need for construction industry training is now more urgent now than ever. It has, however, become apparent that the time available for staff to be away from the workplace to attend courses has diminished.

To alleviate this problem next year the school will present a series of short-duration courses to assist a busy construction industry short of time, but desperately in need of training. The target audience will range from professional engineers, architects and builders to site staff performing essential operations to ensure that the quality of concrete produced is of the specified standard. The courses are of half a day to a day long and address specific concrete technology topics.

Half-day courses to be offered next year are Properties of concrete for the structural designer and constructor, and Durability of concrete. Training for Pre-stressed concrete design and practice, and Concrete structuresanalysis and design will be presented predominantly outside working hours in six sessions of four hours, and 12 sessions of four hours, respectively.

One-day courses include:

  • Concrete technology on site
  • Mortar, plaster, screed and masonry
  • Making concrete bricks and blocks
  • Concrete industrial floors
  • Concrete road design and construction

Longer duration courses deal with topics such as introduction to concrete; concrete practice; concretes for the construction supervisor and concrete technology.
The C&CI; aims to continue to step up its involvement in tertiary education in South Africa to help ensure the future of the engineering profession and to increase awareness of concrete as building material.

The SCT will continue to share knowledge on concrete and strive to equip everybody in the construction industry with a better understanding of its properties and application.