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Tiling academy boosts artisan skills

A tiler in training at the Norcros SA Tiling AcademyThe Norcros SA Tiling Academy in Olifantsfontein, Gauteng, opened its doors in 2006. It is the first institution of its kind in South Africa to offer a formal tiling qualification and it aims to address the absence of an officially recognised training course for tilers in South Africa’s construction industry. Since its inception the academy has equipped 120 learners with tiling and entrepreneurial skills. 

“Unemployed learners who are trained at the academy as tilers obtain a formally recognised qualification and they are equipped with a marketable skill,” says John Smith, technical training officer for TAL. 

For each 10-week training programme, 12 learners are selected, with recommendations by the Department of Labour in Kempton Park. One of the requirements is that learners hold a matric certificate with English and mathematics. The programme covers theoretical and practical skills that meet the unit standard requirements. 

As part of the training, learners participate in basic first aid, including applying health and safety standards to a work area. Other topics covered include: procuring materials, tools and equipment; calculating construction quantities to develop a work plan; erecting, using and dismantling access equipment; plastering walls and screeding floors and steps; planning and preparing to tile; applying tiles to plastered surfaces and screeded floors; monitoring a job. 

On completing the training module successfully, the learners receive a certificate of competence from the service provider, Unique Training Solutions, as well as a complete tool kit. The training also teaches the learners how to start their own business. 

Norcros SA provides all the learning materials, including product training on Johnson Tiles and TAL products. “Skills development is important to us as a company and we want to make sure that the graduates receive all the recognition they deserve,” says Smith. Graduates also receive a Tile Africa approved tiler certificate and a registration card which assures future customers of the legitimacy and quality of their skills. 

Norcros SA is part of the British-based international group Norcros Plc. It consists of three companies based in South Africa: TAL, a manufacturer of specialist adhesive products including products for tiling installations; Johnson Tiles, a manufacturer of ceramic and glazed porcelain tiles; and Tile Africa, a national chain of tile and bathroom ware retailers which also includes the Tile Africa Contracts division.

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