SAPMA, the South African Paint Manufacturing Association, has trained over 6 000 employees in the coatings industry over the past 20 years through its training arm – the SA Paint Industry Training Institute (SAPITI). However, Deryck Spence, executive director of the association, has warned that the lack of government accredited training has become a major threat to the future of the coatings industry.
Spence says there is a critical shortage of skills in the industry. “The pool of resources is shrinking and is simply not sustainable in the long term. There is apathy towards the training provided by SAPITI because of the lack of accreditation from the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA). SAPMA members all subscribe to government’s training levy but do not receive refunds or BBBEE points for non-accredited courses, despite the fact that the government offers no alternative training for the industry,” he says.“For nearly 10 years SAPMA has been trying to obtain CHIETA accreditation for its training modules but we have been thwarted by constant repositioning of the goal posts and changes in the CHIETA management.”
Spence says training is vitally needed in the coatings sector and he urges government to assist the industry by empowering the businesses it has imposed education levies, enabling them to train workers in CHIETA accredited courses. “This would help the sector to create badly needed jobs and make a contribution to boosting the national economy,” he says.
SAPMA provides mainly technical training but has recently added skills-based practical courses to its training programme. It has signed cooperation agreements with the British Coatings Federation (BCF) and is negotiating a further 20 distance-learning training modules from BCF. “These courses will have international accreditation through the City and Guilds Certificate of Competence, which is recognised worldwide in the coatings sector,” Spence adds.